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Taiwan to keep up China talks despite spy case

Taiwan to keep up China talks despite spy case

Taiwan plans to continue to its high-level talks with rival China, a senior official said Thursday, despite media reports that a presidential office staffer was arrested on suspicion of spying for Beijing.
But the island's opposition has urged the government to review its policy of pursuing warming ties with China in light of the recent case.
Since President Ma Ying-jeou came into power last May, he has vowed to reform his predecessor's hardline anti-China stance, and improve trade relations with China to boost Taiwan's economy. Under his watch, Taiwan has resumed high-level talks and begun regular direct transportation links with China.
On Thursday, Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan told reporters that Taiwan will continue to hold talks with China in 2009. The Mainland Affairs Council is Taiwan's Cabinet-level agency in charge of implementing the government's China policy.
"We hope to bolster positive interactions between the two sides through negotiations this year," she said. "We hope to start talking about financial cooperation issues."
The comments came a day after presidential spokesman Wang Yu-chi said a senior presidential office staffer was arrested on suspicion of leaking documents related to Ma's May inauguration. Wang said the leak violated the island's National Security Law.
Taiwanese media subsequently reported that the staffer had passed classified information to a Chinese agent last year. The law is usually applied to espionage relating to China.
Lai declined to comment on media reports.
But opposition Democratic Progressive Party Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang said Thursday that the espionage case "shows that the Ma administration needs to review its China-friendly policies."
"If China continues to conduct espionage (in Taiwan), then apparently there is no mutual trust between the two sides like the Ma administration claims," he added.
Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949. Beijing continues to claim Taiwan as part of its territory, and threatens to attack if the island makes the break permanent.


Updated : 2021-03-03 13:33 GMT+08:00