Fri, Mar 22, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Liu case controversy: Secret government team laid bare in media report

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A report based on classified information allegedly provided by a runaway intelligence official has laid bare a secret government committee established in 1994 to promote ties with the US and Japan.

The committee -- code-named Mingte (明德) -- is comprised of top government officials, mainly from the intelligence community, National Security Council (NSC) and other government agencies.

During the rule of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), members of the task force included then NSC secretary-general Yin Chung-wen (殷宗文), then National Security Bureau (NSB) director Ting Yu-chou (丁渝洲) and NSC advisers Lin Pi-chao (林碧炤) and Eugene Chien (簡又新), according to the latest issue of Next magazine.

Some of these individuals are said to still be members of the task force.

After exposing secret operations dating from the Lee administration, the office of Next magazine was searched by law enforcement officials and the author of the report has been questioned.

Investigations by the NSB showed the report was based on photocopies of classified documents once kept by ex-NSB chief cashier Colonel Liu Kuan-chun (劉冠軍), who fled the country two years ago after he was alleged to have pocketed nearly NT$200 million from a secret bureau fund.

Funds for the secret operations that the reports exposed are alleged to have come mostly from an account code-named Fengtien (奉天) that Liu had guarded for several years before its irregularities were discovered.

It had a principal of NT$3 billion, which had generated over NT$600 million from bank interest and stock investments since 1994.

The Mingte committee was established in 1994 with extra income generated from the fund.

Mingte's maneuvers

■ Among the revelations in classified National Security Bureau documents detailed in a report by Next magazine is the existence of top secret government committee aimed at improving relations with the US and Japan. ■ According to the reports, the committee -- code-named Mingte -- was established in 1994 and was key in diffusing the tension surrounding the 1996 cross-strait crisis. ■ The committee was also said to be behind the recent visit to the US by Defense Minister Tang Yao-ming. ■ Funds for the team's operations were said to come from a secret account code-named Fengtien.


During the cross-strait crisis of 1996, the task force played a role in bringing about a peaceful resolution by seeking help from Japan and the US.

It was because of Japan's insistence that the US sent two carrier battle groups to the Taiwan Strait, Next magazine said.

Because of the committee's efforts, Taiwan established closer ties with the Japanese and US governments on regional security, the magazine said.

The committee has also maintained good relations with government leaders of the two countries, some of whom were identified in the Next report.

The recent visit to the US by Defense Minister Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) was also attributed to the committee's efforts.

NSB Director Tsai Tsao-ming (蔡朝明), who is believed to be a member of the committee, condemned the exposure of the secret operations.

Tsai said that the exposure jeopardized national security and threatened to take legal action against any news organization that possesses or prints classified documents.

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