A Taiwan presidential office employee was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of leaking secrets to China, the office spokesman said, an indication that distrust lingers between the two old foes despite warming relations.
A local court ordered the arrest of presidential office specialist Wang Ren-bing on suspicion of leaking information after documents were seized a day earlier, a Taipei District Court official said.
Another man from outside the presidential office was also arrested on suspicion of leaking secrets, the official said.
The presidential office declined to elaborate on the case but said it should not affect Taiwan's improving ties with China.
"This is a simple case," presidential office spokesman Tony Wang said. "We respect the legal investigation."
The information in question concerns President Ma Ying-jeou's inauguration last year and the departure of former president Chen Shui-bian, Ma's office and local media said.
Communist China has claimed sovereignty over democratic Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's KMT fled to Taiwan. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.
But ties have improved rapidly since China-friendly Ma took office last May, fostering new trade and transit links and new trust between leaders on both sides.
"There's no ceasefire on spying," said Hsu Yung-ming, a political science professor at Soochow University. "This kind of incident usually leads to a reciprocal response."
Beijing's immediate response was to shrug it off.
"We often hear these criticisms, but I think they are baseless," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. declining further comment.
Last Mod: 15 Ocak 2009, 12:53