Wu tells MND to minimize scandal harm

The China Post news staff

Premier Wu Den-yih yesterday instructed the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to do its best to minimize the harms to the nation of an army general’s alleged spying for China, according to Minister Johnny Chiang of the Government Information Office.

Wu also directed the MND to make it a priority task to enhance military character and moral education and take effective measures against spies and prevent leakage of confidential military information.

Chiang said the premier issued the instruction after hearing a report from the MND at the weekly Cabinet meeting.

During the meeting, the premier stressed that the MND should move to reinforce the loyalty concept of military servicemen and consolidate their basic virtues.

Also yesterday, lawmakers of both the ruling Kuomintang and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party requested the MND to deliver a special report on the scandal, its impact on the national defense, and how to minimize the possible damages to the nation, when the next legislative session begins.

The detained 51-year-old officer, Major-General Lo Hsien-che, is accused of collecting intelligence for Beijing for at least six years and is believed to be the highest-ranking Taiwanese military official accused of espionage for China.

Observers said that the arrest has underscored the persistent distrust and military tension between Taipei and Beijing, despite the signing of landmark trade and tourism deals after President Ma Ying-jeou was elected as Taiwan’s president in 2008 and embarked on an effort to narrow the rift with China. “Though the warmth of spring has come to the situation between both sides of the Strait, beneath the surface the undercurrents are as choppy as ever,” the Chinese-language wrote in its editorial yesterday. “National security authorities must draw lessons from this bitter experience and make sure it does not happen again.” The government here says Lo was recruited in 2004 while he was posted to Thailand. Lo was fond of health and fitness books, never demanded military underlings run errands for him and came from a military family, The impression he gave was of being sincere and honest. He didn’t say much, was very introverted and low key.

The United Daily News said Lo had betrayed Taiwan because of “women and money,” providing China with detailed information about Taiwan’s military communications network via a female Chinese spy who masqueraded as a well-traveled trader.