Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ex-NSC official warns on ‘overreaction’ to spy case

As Beijing continues its zero-sum game with Taiwan, a former adviser to President Ma had one prescription for Taipei: do nothing

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 Major 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.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.


David on Formosa said...

I think those that are locked in the panda's embrace can only see something that is warm and fluffy. Those who can stand back and take a good look at the panda realise that it has teeth and sharp claws.

J. Michael Cole 寇謐將 said...

@David: Indeed. If this is the kind of advice Ma is receiving from his advisers, no wonder his reactions to Beijing's repeated insults have been meek.