Details of China's alleged espionage operations to infiltrate Taiwan's armed forces have been revealed.
Former Taiwanese and US military officers are concerned Beijing has obtained details of the self-governing island's defence planning through its spying network, Reuters reports.
Official documents released by Taiwanese authorities have revealed how China allegedly sought out senior Taiwan military officers and induced them to become spies.
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One case involved Hong Kong man Xie Xizhang, an apparent businessman who travelled regularly to Taiwan for 20 years.
During one visit in 2006, Xie met a senior retired Taiwanese navy officer, Chang Pei-ning, over a meal, according to official documents accusing the pair of espionage.
Chang went on to become one of Xie's agents, the documents allege, helping him penetrate Taiwan's top military leadership.
The Taiwanese officers and their families were allegedly lured by Xie's offers of all-expenses-paid trips abroad, thousands of dollars in cash payments, and luxury gifts such as silk scarves for their wives.
In June 2019, Taiwanese authorities moved against Xie's network, launching raids that uncovered further evidence,
Now, Chang is facing espionage charges and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Xie who is believed to have left Taiwan.
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There are also reports China has penetrated the security unit that protects Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen.
A retired presidential security officer and a serving military police lieutenant colonel at the unit had their conviction upheld earlier this year for leaking sensitive information about Ms Tsai's security to Chinese intelligence.
During the past decade, at least 21 serving or retired Taiwanese military officers have been convicted of spying for Beijing, according to court records and reports from Taiwan's official news agencies.
And at least nine other serving or retired members of the armed forces are currently on trial or being investigated on suspicion of contacts with spies from China.
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Beijing's agents often begin inducing their targets in Taiwan's military with offers of small gifts, drinks and meals, one expert said.
Retired Taiwanese navy officer Lu Li-shih who has studied Chinese espionage activities said they aimed to recruit a ring of top-level spies.
"China is conducting a very targeted infiltration effort towards Taiwan," he said.
Taiwan is a flourishing democracy but the mainland's ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to view the island as an inseparable part of its territory – despite having never controlled it.