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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Several Taiwanese military officers have been detained on suspicion of spying for China

According to the Central News Agency in Taipei, Taiwan apprehended three active-duty officers and a retired Air Force officer accused of spying for China. This is a case that indicates at the degree to which Beijing is eavesdropping on its much smaller neighbour, Taiwan.

According to the semi-official media site, the former officer left the military in 2013 and began conducting business in China, where he was recruited to construct an espionage ring. The publication did not specify where it acquired the information or from whom it obtained it.

According to a story that was published by CNA late on Wednesday night, the prosecutors believe that he recruited six policemen and was paid between NT$200,000 ($6,510) and NT$700,000 via a shell business. The city of Kaohsiung in the south was where he and three other active officers who were serving in the Air Force and Navy were imprisoned. Three other active officers were released after posting bail.

China has far more resources than Taiwan, which has made it difficult for Taiwan to root out espionage inside its own military. The United States, which is Taiwan’s most important military ally, has long been concerned about the capacity of the self-ruled island to keep technological and other secrets safe from Beijing’s grasp.

In November, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense issued a statement stating that China’s surveillance constituted a “severe danger.” CNA reported previously that these statements were made at the same time that authorities initiated an inquiry into an infantry commander who was suspected of collecting NT$40,000 per month in bribes from China in order to gather information and surrender in the event that a conflict ever broke out.

The issue of espionage permeates Taiwan’s military all the way up to the highest ranks. An investigation was conducted against the former Vice Defense Minister Chang Che-ping in 2021 owing to concerns that he had contact with a Chinese espionage network. Chang Che-ping was previously Taiwan’s third most prominent military figure.

He was exonerated of any wrongdoing and later became a witness in a case that resulted in the prosecution of a retired general and lieutenant colonel for spying in the month of June.

Taiwan has reported more than 1,700 intrusions by warplanes into a crucial air-defense identification zone in the last year, as well as more than 660 ships in the seas nearby. The United States is increasing its level of military assistance for Taiwan. In December, US senators came to an agreement on a budget measure that would total $1.7 trillion and would allow for up to $10 billion in military sales to Taiwan.

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