Taiwan politics

Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou summit

Taiwan, mainland China swap jailed spies after historic presidential summit

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 November, 2015, 12:21pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 November, 2015, 2:53pm

Taiwan has swapped jailed spies with political foe mainland China in an unprecedented goodwill gesture following this month's historic meeting between the leaders of the two sides, the island's government said on Monday.

Beijing released Colonel Zhu Gongxun and Colonel Xu Changguo of Taiwan's Military Intelligence after they had been held for more than nine years, while Taiwan gave advance parole to mainland spy Li Zhihao, according to a statement from the office of Taiwan's president.

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“This is based on a mutual goodwill gesture delivered by the Ma-Xi meeting,” presidential spokesman Charles Chen said in the statement.

“President Ma [Ying-jeou] hopes cross-strait mutual exchanges can continue and make more concrete achievements in the future,” Chen added.

Mainland China's Taiwan Affairs Office could not be reached for comment by telephone.

This is based on a mutual goodwill gesture delivered by the Ma-Xi meeting
Charles Chen, Taiwan presidential spokesman

Ma and President Xi Jinping met in November, the first meeting of the two sides leaders in more than 60 years.

the talks that came amid rising anti-mainland sentiment on the self-ruled democratic island and weeks ahead of elections.

Ma's Kuomintang, or KMT, retreated to Taiwan after losing the civil war in 1949 to the communists now in control in Beijing.

Mainland China has never renounced the use of force to bring what it considers a breakaway province under its control.

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Taiwan's two jailed spies were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006 for their activities, the defence ministry said, but declined to elaborate.