A retired Taiwanese naval officer and two others were arrested on suspicion of spying for China, the latest in a string of cases that underline the mistrust between Beijing and Taipei despite warming economic ties.J Michael Cole has an excellent article in The Diplomat (which is always full of good articles) on this case and some of the issues. After reviewing a couple of terrible cases of Chinese espionage over the last two years, Cole notes:
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said in a statement Monday that Lt. Col. Chang Chih-hsin was suspected of "spying for officials at the Communist Party in China" and "bribing other officers in the navy for illegal gains" during his tenure, which ended in May, at the Naval Meteorological & Oceanographic Office. The office provides mapping data for the military.
All this occurred at a time when the Ma administration was striving to improve relations across the Taiwan Strait via a series of agreements and exchanges, in the hopes that such contact would encourage Beijing to become less antagonistic. Such expectations, it seems, were misguided. Or rather, while Beijing was happy to take the first steps toward the liberalization of relations between the two historical enemies — which has arguably benefitted Taiwan in some respects — it never abandoned the hard measures of the past. As a result, China’s soft approach has not replaced the belligerent strategy of the past; instead, it complements it as part of a united front strategy to wrest Taiwan from the grips of independence and bring it back into the Motherland’s embrace.Reality as Cole notes: there was never any soft approach, except as an aspect of the hardline. The spy issue unfortunately isn't just an issue of getting closer to China since Ma took office. Cases like this go back years -- retired officers have been moving to China in droves since the Lee Administration. Chang was close to retirement when the case began, he was permitted to visit China and was heading back for a second visit when he was arrested. The other two officers were already retired. The problem of China and retired officers is severe -- hundreds are living and doing business there. The Taipei Times noted a DPP legislator's complaint that the procedures for preventing Chang's visit to China were in place but that they were not appropriately handled. Just another case of Taiwan having decent laws and regulations but lacking enforcement.....
Cole then points out that the spy issue creates distrust of Taiwan in Washington -- it is frequently cited in the media as a reason why the folks in DC don't want to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan, since their secrets might be leaked to Beijing.....
MEDIA FAILURE NOTE:
Aries Poon has been reporting here since the Qing Dynasty. He certainly couldn't make an error like this. How the heck could this have been produced? A new editor who didn't know anything?
Despite closer economic cooperation and conciliatory rhetoric between Taiwan and China in recent years, there is still mistrust between the two sides. Beijing has yet to renounce the option of military force as a way to reclaim Taiwan, which it considers part of China. Taiwan, under the Taiwan Relations Act signed with the U.S. in 1979, is still opting for purchase of more weapons for self-defense. The U.S. in September 2011 agreed to upgrade Taiwan's aging fleet of F-16 for $5 billion.The Taiwan Relations Act wasn't "signed with the US." It is a US law passed by the US Congress. Taiwan had no part in it. D'oh!
And can we not use the term "reclaim" since the PRC never owned Taiwan? What's going on is annexation. At least use the term unification, if truth cannot be spoken.
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