Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spies again...and again...and again....

WSJ reports the sad tale:
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.

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.
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:
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.....

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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Tommy said...

An interesting direction for Taiwan to take would be to groom spies to provide false information to China. They might do it already for all I know.

Readin said...

Still wondering why America isn't selling F-16s to Taiwan?

SY said...


There is no "Taiwan" to groom spies to false-feed China info.

The "Taiwan" in your sentence is the Ma administration, which is a (colonial) administrative branch of China. The occasional prosecutions of low to middle level officers for spying for China are just alibi of the Ma admin for its pretense of being "Taiwan" and are farcical shows to stall the US.

The high level officers (particularly retired KMT generals, each still controls their own clan actively serving in the KMT military) are residing in China and playing golf with Chinese military pals. Spy? Why the need?

The Taiwanese people never controlled the military, the "information service", the police force, the parliament/budget, i.e., the real ruling power (even under Chen Shui-Bian); thus, there has never been a "Taiwanese Taiwan" as an entity; never before and never after WWII.

What has been acting as "Taiwan" internationally is the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which has since 2005 been certified by China as its colonial administrative branch in Taiwan, as evidenced in the way the Ma-led KMT, on behalf of China, has sabotaged CSB admin's efforts to upgrade the military, including the purchase of F-16s.

Note that even the Taiwanese Lee Teng-Hui, when acting as chairman of KMT and president of ROC, did not dare once to show his face in the then-existing Information Bureau (secret police of KMT.) LTH never commanded control over the military and the secret police.

LTH told a Japanese journalist that he was "a president under the mouth (snout) of the tiger", i.e. he could be chewed on by the tiger at any time. Here, tiger = Chinese/Mainlanders' military-secret police collective apparatus.

By that analogy, CSB was and still is a president in the mouth of the tiger.

The basic fallacy in all analyses on the Taiwan situation has always been the mistake of taking the KMT apparatus for "Taiwan" and viewing its actions as displays of the will of the Taiwanese. (Now, I want to skip the discussion on the complex battered woman syndrome/Stockholm syndrome of the Taiwanese voters; maybe some other time.)

KMT, especially Ma Ying-Jeou, has been extremely successful in its parasitical camouflage strategy, which the US has been seeing as beneficial and silently cooperating.

Same as most other international interest-ridden networks/messes (such as the US debt+QEs+economic-still-water and the Euro mutually-assured-destruction clamped-down), nobody knows where the situation is heading.

It's a sign of the time.