TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A former lawmaker is accusing Taiwan's ex-ambassador to Nicaragua of treason for quitting his post before the Central American country cut ties with Taiwan and for obtaining Nicaraguan citizenship.
Nicaragua announced it would sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China on Dec. 9, and on Dec. 26, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega ordered Taiwan's embassy and all associated assets to be seized and transferred to the Chinese government. A little more than two months earlier, Taiwan’s ambassador in Nicaragua at the time, Jaime Wu (吳進木), stated his decision to retire and intention to remain in Nicaragua, before officially stepping down on Nov. 17.
On Dec. 10, just one day after Nicaragua had cut ties with Taiwan, it announced that it had granted Wu Nicaraguan citizenship. Fearing a breach of state secrets, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), took to Facebook on Sunday (Jan. 2) to criticize the move as an act of treason and demanded the immediate retraction of Wu's pension.
Lin accused Wu of deception for only announcing "good news" prior to the severance of diplomatic relations. He described his presentation of such false information and failure to return to Taiwan after the diplomatic break as "a series of actions that were unreasonable."
The former lawmaker criticized Wu's actions as being "completely treasonous." He then leveled criticism at government agencies for failing to take decisive action: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs still spoke on (Wu's) behalf. What was the national security system doing? This is ridiculous! This still hasn't been seriously investigated?"
Lin then demanded that the Ministry of Civil Service immediately confiscate Wu's government pension.
According to regulations, ambassadors are personnel with access to classified information and are regulated by the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法) and required to return to Taiwan when their tenure ends at an embassy. They then cannot leave Taiwan without official permission for three years.
In response, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) stated that the former ambassador was unable to return to Taiwan because he was caring for his wife, who has impaired mobility. Wu pledged a more rigorous review of the incident in the future.
Update: 5:30 p.m. 01/04/2022
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) on Tuesday (Jan. 4) said that the ministry did not know that the former ambassador would be granted Nicaraguan citizenship beforehand and that "Ambassador Wu did not inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in advance." Ou said that the ministry has contacted the former ambassador through a private channel and expressed the hope that he will provide an explanation to the outside world.
Democratic Progressive Party legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) was cited by Liberty Times as saying that Article 26 of the Classified National Security Information Protection Act stipulates that people with high-level state security access retire, resign, or hand over state secrets, are restricted from leaving the country for three years. However, when such personnel retire overseas and do not return to the country may become a "legal loophole, making this law a formality that cannot control risks."