A former National Security Council (NSC) official yesterday said Taipei needs to be very careful about how it responds to a major espionage case involving China lest it impact other issues.
Philip Yang (楊永明), a senior adviser at the NSC from 2008 until last year and now a professor of political science at National Taiwan University, told the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents’ Club that the arrest last month of General Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲) on espionage charges served as a reminder that despite warming relations across the Taiwan Strait, in the military and intelligence spheres, “Taiwan and China remain locked in a Cold War mindset.”
However, despite the seriousness of the charges against Lo — whose actions since he began spying for China in 2004 could have severely compromised Taiwan’s national security and its ties with the US military — Yang said President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration should choose its response carefully to avoid “overspill.”
Asked by the Taipei Times if Taipei could perhaps retaliate by canceling a visit to Taiwan next week by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), Yang said the controversy should not be linked to other areas of engagement with China, adding that escalation could have “domestic implications.”
So far, the Ma administration has yet to officially complain to Beijing over the Lo incident and China’s refusal to draw down its military posture. This silence is in stark contrast to the way in which Taipei reacted to a decision by the Philippines earlier this month to deport, at Beijing’s request, 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China despite opposition by Taiwanese officials.
Given the severity of the case, Taipei’s muted response is also at odds with its reaction to comments by former Japanese representative to Taiwan Masaki Saito in 2009 to the effect that Taiwan’s status remained “unresolved,” sparking calls by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that he be expelled. Saito, who resigned over the comments and returned to Japan in December that year, was in the interim treated by Taiwanese officials as more or less persona non grata.
In June 2008, amid a dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), Taiwan recalled its envoy to Japan and the “w-word” (war) was bandied about by top officials in Taipei.
Asked why, when it came to Japan and the Philippines, Taipei adopted a muscular diplomatic posture and deliberately linked incidents to other unrelated areas — in the Philippines’ case stricter reviews of applications by Filipinos seeking to work in Taiwan and unspecified “measures” — while Beijing did not appear to ever suffer the consequences of its belligerent actions, Yang was noncommittal.
SMALL RESPITE: The past few rainy days, which came after one month of virtually no rain on the west coast, did not ease Taiwan’s water shortage problems, the CWB said A weather system from southern China has over the past three days replenished Taiwan’s reservoirs with almost 16 million tonnes of water, giving Taiwan a slight relief from a water shortage, the Water Resources Agency (WRA) said yesterday. From 12am on Tuesday to 4pm yesterday, about 15.97 million tonnes fell in the catchment areas of the nation’s reservoirs, which is slightly more than Taiwan’s average daily water use, it said. However, the rain would ease today, with only isolated showers forecast in Hualien and Taitung counties, as well as in southern Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said. For other regions, cloudy to
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi