Huge news this week as the government of Taiwan arrested one of its generals for spying for China. Thursday the Taipei Times reported:
Thailand is to Asia what Vienna was to Europe during the Cold War: the place where spy games are played.
A general has been arrested over claims he spied for China, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced yesterday, as it scrambled to limit the damage from what it called the worst espionage case in 50 years.
Wang Ming-wo (王明我), acting director of the General Political Warfare Bureau, told a press conference yesterday that Major General Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲), head of communications and electronic information at the Army Command Headquarters, was detained on Jan. 25.
Agents from national security bureaus and military prosecutors searched Lo’s office and room in the Army Command Headquarters and his residence and seized confidential documents, Wang said.
Wang said Lo was allegedly recruited by Chinese agents in 2004 in the middle of a 2002 to 2005 posting in Thailand, and could not have done much damage after returning to Taiwan.
Other articles noted:
WantChinaTimes, the rabidly pro-Beijing Taiwan newspaper, gleefully reported that military and intelligence ties with the US could be cut, basing their reporting on comments from the Taiwan representative office in Washington. But later reports stated that the case would not affect relations -- the F-16 sale has already been in suspended animation since the late Bush Administration, while current trade talks are stalled over -- yes, you're reading this correctly -- beef.
Fisher said Lo’s arrest was only the latest espionage exposure in a mostly silent “war” extending back for almost four generations.
“General Lo’s case is deadly serious because he was in charge of what was to be Taiwan’s most important force multiplier in the event of war — the ‘Po Sheng’ or ‘Broad Victory’ digital multi-service command, control and intelligence system,” Fisher said.
“Po Sheng was intended to allow Taiwan’s armed forces to transition into the modern age of true joint warfare where different services can cooperate intimately for faster mission success,” he said.
According to Chinese-language media reports, the US first knew about this case in July of last year, which implies that the US has had a while to prepare a response and minimize damage. The media reported that the general was lured into working for Beijing through the classic methods of sex and cash -- although he is a mainlander from a military family whose father came over with Chiang Kai-shek, there is no reason to place the blame for this one on ethnicity; no one really knows what goes on in the hearts of men who betray their own. WantChinaTimes passed on a tale that the general turned spy due to fear of thwarted promotion -- from a general who was involved in the assassination of writer Henry Liu in 1984! Remember, in spy cases dissinformation abounds.
The case quickly became a political football for intraparty politics as the DPP and KMT each accused the other's president of being at fault, as if Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian hovered over the nation's generals, ensuring that they did not go over to
I don't think the case is indicative of anything -- high ranking officials will continue to change positions in both directions thanks to the lubricating effects of sex and cash -- but rather, highlights the apparent ongoing decline in the nation's defense and intelligence since Ma became President, as Far Eastern Potato notes (see below). Jens Kastner has written a number of articles broadly related to this theme, such as Taiwan's surveillance role in doubt. For more, see his blog, Taiwan Reports. Hopefully DPP Chairman Tsai will get out front and center on the direction of the nation's defense policies.
Meanwhile, in the absence of the DPP, the KMT papers are fulfilling the role of Loyal Opposition. A UDN piece commenting on the many recent issues, including the tiff over the 14 alleged fraudsters sent by Manila to China, observed as it ended:
Ma and his advisors seem congenitally incapable of this, however.
Since the Republic of China is a sovereign state, it should take practical action to demand that Beijing address this fact, rather than wait for political goodwill that you already know does not exist.
NOTE: My thanks to all the intelligent commentary I read out there..
MEDIA: The New Times representation of The Formula:
The first sentence there is excellent and should be in wider use. The use of "reunification" in the second paragraph is incorrect but this is certainly not as awful as the alternate universe AP constructs with its generic "split in 1949" Formula. The last paragraph was deleted in later versions of this article. UPDATE: D'oh! M reminds that Taiwan was occupied in 1945. First sentence still not up to par.
China has more than 1,000 missiles along its southeast coast aimed at Taiwan, which was occupied by the Kuomintang military after it retreated to the island following the Communist takeover of China in 1949. Before President Ma took office in 2008 tensions between Beijing and Taipei ran high, when the governing Democratic Progressive Party enacted policies that appeared to move the island closer to formal independence.
The party has its strongest base in southern Taiwan, and its supporters are suspicious of moves toward reunification with the mainland, which some Kuomintang officials advocate. The United States government prefers that the status quo be maintained.
REF: An old Epoch Times piece on Chinese Honey traps. Don't miss Far Eastern Sweet Potato on the Ma Administration and this case:
Lo’s case is only the most recent in a series of military scandals to emerge since Ma launched his policy of engagement. What this means, to get back to my initial point, is that the young men and women who every day put their lives on the line to defend Taiwan are doing so amid the increasing likelihood that their entire system may have been compromised, so much so that in the event of war in the Taiwan Strait, their ability to counter Chinese aggression would be severely handicapped. Countless Taiwanese could be killed not because of lack of training or equipment, but because the Ma government looked the other way when, under the guise of “goodwill,” China stole national security secrets and dug holes in our system as termites would to a log. To allow the armed services to be thus undermined and to do nothing to remedy the situation — which is exactly what the Ma administration has been doing, in the name of warm relations — comes very close to treason.This case is a reminder that Beijing will neither compromise nor cease until our democracy is snuffed out and Taiwan is annexed to its empire.
- Major changes at the Tourism Bureau: Taiwan is now The Heart of Asia, David reports.
- Jon A with another great report, on the recent death penalty case and the issues it and the Hsichih trio raise.
- Tiasugar to freeze prices on staples
- Classical Chinese texts to be studied because they "build character", backlash ensues.
- Jerome Keating's next meet up is Feb 19, see sidebar under Hot! Hot! Hot!
- Asia and the Climate Crisis
- Asia's arms race from WSJ
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.