(PatriotWise.com)- According to Reuters, an extensive investigation by Taiwanese officials revealed a Chinese spy operation to lure assets within Taiwan’s military to disrupt its defenses and undermine the sovereignty of the island nation.
Among those Chinese recruiters is a man named Xie Xizhang who claimed to be a Hong Kong businessman. Over the last 15 years, Xie recruited several military officers by luring them with gifts, cash, and foreign trips.
In 2019, Taiwanese officials moved against Xie’s network of spies, raiding multiple locations and making arrests. Xie himself was not apprehended and has since left Taiwan.
The investigation reports obtained by Reuters reveal that China has systematically constructed a network of spies to weaken Taiwan’s defense capabilities and acquire detailed intelligence about its strategic weapons and plans. The network was so successful in embedding assets, even the security detail protecting Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen was compromised.
Earlier this year, a Lt. Colonel on the president’s security team was convicted by a Taiwanese court for complicity in leaking details of the president’s security to Chinese agents, including charts, drawings, phone numbers of the security staff, and extensive details on the president’s residence.
Thus far, 21 officers have been convicted and another nine are currently on trial.
According to Reuters, apart from the direct strategic consequences of the discovery of Chinese spies within the military, these actions also serve to psychologically weaken morale within the Taiwanese military by casting suspicion and doubt among the ranks.
Security analysts also believe that discovering a spy network within the military may create suspicion among Taiwan’s allies as well, with allies like the United States hesitant to share sensitive information with Taiwan’s military.
Taiwanese officials are not willing to openly discuss the Reuters report or the current investigations they are conducting, nor are they willing to admit the details surrounding the spying cases.