A ruling by the Taiwan High Court last week, in which former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was found not guilty of misusing his special state affairs fund, inadvertently revealed secret diplomatic efforts by Taipei as it explained in detail how Chen spent state affairs funds to promote relations with other countries.
The ruling said that Taipei in the 1990s lobbied former Japanese prime ministers Ryutaro Hashimoto and Junichiro Koizumi to support Taiwan’s efforts to attend the WTO Ministerial Conference on Agriculture — efforts that succeeded in the long run.
The Taiwan High Court on Friday rescinded previous rulings and found Chen and former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) not guilty of corruption, in a retrial of their state affairs fund case.
The court said it acquitted Chen of corruption in the case because he had spent more than the funds he received during his terms in office and spent all the money on state affairs.
These included 21 secret diplomacy programs and bonuses to his staff.
In order not to leak national secrets in the ruling, the court used codes to represent Taiwan’s secret diplomatic activities.
These included an invitation by Taiwan to an aide on public policy of former US president Bill Clinton, referred to as “M,” to visit Taiwan; an “S” program to smooth and maintain Taiwan-US communication channels; an “F” program to lobby US government officials on a regular basis; an “L” program to fund the campaign of a member of the US Congress, and “F” and “J” programs to promote diplomatic ties with Fiji and Japan respectively.
The ruling revealed that Chen also funded two Chinese dissidents, whose names were not mentioned in the ruling.
The ruling further said that the National Security Bureau under former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) launched program “S” to strengthen unofficial cooperation channels between Taiwan, Japan and the US and handed more than NT$2.7 million annually to a Taiwanese operative who was familiar with Japanese politicians friendly to Taiwan.
It said that the Taiwanese man had kept in touch with then-Japanese heavyweight senator Shiina Motoo, who maintained communication channels between Japan, Taiwan and the US.
The ruling added that in 2000, Chen paid NT$2 million from his state affairs fund to keep the program alive.
The ruling continued that during the Universal Exposition in Tokyo in 2006, Taiwan sought and won more than 50 exhibitions through diplomatic work with Japan.
Furthermore, when the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna planned to cancel Taipei’s cooperating non-member status because Taiwan was considered to be catching tuna over its quota limit, Taipei asked Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi, then Japanese vice minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, for help.
Miyakoshi stepped in and after intensive lobbying to the convention, the country was able to keep its cooperating non-member status.