The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense released news on Oct. 26 saying that a military major sold secrets about American aircraft to mainland China. The major is now under investigation, along with over a dozen others suspected of involvement, Taiwanese authorities said.
According to initial investigations, the suspected officer is surnamed Hao, and is based at an electronic warfare brigade in the Air Force stationed in Pingtung County, in the south of Taiwan, Taiwan media NextTV reported. Major Hao is suspected of selling secret information about the E-2K, a modernized early warning aircraft sold by the United States.
A Ministry of Defense spokesperson told NextTV that Hao sold the secret information to civilians acting as spies for the Communist Party. The police found at least $100,000 New Taiwan dollars ($3,400) of unknown origin in his office and home; the authorities said that a group of over a dozen were involved in the transactions. They said the investigation is still ongoing.
Ting Shou-chung, a lawmaker with the incumbent National Party, said that the leak will have a severe impact on Taiwan’s air defenses.
“It not only creates a significant loophole in national defense, but also impacts on military trade between the U.S. and Taiwan,” he said in an interview with Voice of America. Ting continued: “The U.S. will be less willing to sell us high-tech weapons, in case it is leaked to mainland China.”
Cases of Taiwanese officers selling military secrets to mainland China, or acting as spies for Chinese forces, crop up periodically. Eight retired officials from Taiwan’s navy were arrested last year for selling information about naval vessels and waters surrounding Taiwan, according to Hong Kong media.
Political analysts also say that it is in the interests of Chinese propaganda authorities to emphasize the ease with which Taiwanese officers can be suborned, so that the United States will be less willing to share its military technology with the country.
The Chinese military has over 1,500 missiles aimed at Taiwan, and the Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly stated that it does not rule out using military means to force the country’s unification with the mainland.