Sat, Aug 30, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Ma sees little impact from scandal

SECRET AFFAIRS:While the president has described a former MAC deputy as a ‘pest,’ the TSU said he should explain who nurtured and allowed the pest to grow

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Former Mainland Affairs Council deputy minister Chang Hsien-yao, center, leaves the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office early yesterday morning after being questioned about allegations that he divulged official secrets.

Photo: CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday downplayed the potential impact of alleged information leaks to China by former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) deputy minister Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), calling it a “ripple in the strong wave of cross-strait developments.”

The remark follows his comment the day before comparing Chang to a “pest” in cross-strait ties that has to be eliminated — the first time Ma responded to the weeks-long scandal.

The president said the suspected leak was just a “ripple” that would not affect cross-strait developments, adding that Taipei and Beijing currently enjoy the “most stable period in cross-strait relations over the past 65 years.”

Speaking at a ceremony to mark Armed Forces Day, the president said the government would continue its efforts to promote cross-strait relations, but it has to be predicated on mutual respect and legitimacy for it to be in the interests of Taiwan and its people.

Separately yesterday, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus called on Ma to report to the Legislative Yuan on the state of the nation after the legislature’s plenary session commences on Sept. 12, saying that since the president had likened Chang to a “pest,” he should explain who had nurtured the “pest” and allowed it to grow.

TSU caucus whip Lai Chen-chang (賴振昌) said that since Ma is the head of the state and, according to the Constitution, the highest person in charge of the national security system, and Chang was officially appointed by the president to take charge of cross-strait negotiations, Ma has to report to the nation since he was the decisionmaker and an interested party in the case involving national security.

TSU Legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安) said that Chang, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and the Presidential Office have changed their stories several times since the dispute broke out, and the whole brouhaha has already caused damage to national security, cross-strait developments and diplomatic affairs.

Chou said Ma has been unapologetic and has acted as if nothing has happened, when he should be held accountable.

The Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday also ran a headline story claiming that Chang’s trusted assistants might have released at least 30 confidential documents to a Taiwanese businessman, who handed them over to officials at China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

The report said the Investigation Bureau found Chang’s secretary faxing from the Mainland Affairs Council office classified documents to a Taiwanese businessman who acted as the middleman between Chang and Chinese officials.

Another assistant of Chang might have also verbally disclosed classified information to Chinese officials, the report quoted the bureau as saying.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office rebutted the report and denied earlier reports saying that Chang had been wiretapped.

Chang was released earlier yesterday at about 2am after being questioned for 12 hours.

Chang’s aide, Chen Hung-yi (陳宏義), and two others who were called in for questioning have also been released.

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