Friday, March 02, 2012

Spying cases are lose-lose for Taiwan

... but they are win-win for China, which in recent years has not suffered any political backlash for continuing its intelligence war against Taiwan

For the optimists who believed that China would wind down its aggressive behavior as relations between Taipei and Beijing improved under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), a series of spy scandals in recent years might have brought them back to sobriety.

Relations in the Taiwan Strait show signs of improvement under Ma, but China has not abandoned the military option, continuing its impressive arms build-up and modernization program. So, while Taipei has instructed the Ministry of National Defense to focus more on natural catastrophes, the People’s Liberation Army has continued to develop strategies and tactics directly relevant to an invasion of Taiwan.

The same has occurred on the espionage front, with key defense systems becoming the target of intelligence collection by Chinese handlers and their agents. Two areas of crucial importance to Taiwan — the Po Sheng and the Anyu command-and-control modernization programs — have repeatedly been attacked by Chinese agents. Given that air defense would play a major role in any armed conflict between the two countries, it is unsurprising that China would try to compromise those systems by recruiting sources within the military.

Among the most famous espionage cases involving Taiwan’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities in recent years are those of Gregg Bergersen and Kuo Tai-shen (郭台生); army general Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲); and an air force captain surnamed Chiang (蔣), who was arrested earlier this week.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continnues here.

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