Ex-defense minister of Taiwan says Beijing approached him

Michael Tsai says Beijing reached out to him after he left his position as defense minister

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Former Taiwanese Defense Minister Tsai (center).

Former Taiwanese Defense Minister Tsai (center). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Taiwan continues to grapple with alleged Chinese interference in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, former Taiwanese Defense Minister Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) revealed on Monday (Dec. 2) that Beijing approached him after he stepped down in 2008.

A press conference was held by Taiwan’s pro-independence groups at the Legislative Yuan to highlight the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party, reported CNA. The attendees called for the expedited passage of the Anti-Infiltration Act, the draft of which passed its second reading in the legislature on Nov. 29.

Tsai served as defense minister for only three months in 2008 during the end of the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration. He said that the following year, a Taiwanese businessman contacted him on behalf of Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office, inviting him to attend an international meeting in China.

The alleged middleman implied that Tsai would be received by a member of the Chinese leadership, Tsai revealed, an invitation he never accepted. By sharing his own experience, the Democratic Progressive Party figure said he hopes to sound the alarm about the relentless unification campaign being waged against Taiwan by Beijing.

China's campaign targets not only the so-called blue camp, or individuals favoring closer ties with China, but also members of the green camp with pro-independence leanings, Liberty Times quoted him as saying.

Parris Chang (張旭成), former deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council, also made the case for increased awareness of Chinese infiltration. With the elections imminent, Chang believes Beijing could ramp up its efforts to try to sway voters, such as in the realm of underground betting, for example, said the report.

Retired lieutenant general Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party has sparked controversy over his pro-China leanings during the nomination process of the party's legislator-at-large seats. He was filmed listening to a speech by Xi Jinping during a trip to China in 2016.