Taiwan has swapped jailed spies with China in an unprecedented goodwill gesture following last month’s historic meeting between the leaders of the two sides.
China 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 Chinese spy Li Zhihao, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the office of Taiwan’s president.
“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.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office confirmed the release of Zhu and Xu, saying the pair had served a sentence for harming the mainland’s national security.
“The relevant judicial authorities released Zhu and Xu on parole in accordance with the law”, it said in a fax message.
Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Singapore in November, the first time the leaders from both sides met in more than 60 years.
The talks came amid rising anti-Chinese sentiment on the self-ruled democratic island and weeks ahead of elections.
Taiwan’s two jailed spies were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006 for their activities, the defense ministry said, but declined to elaborate.
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