Taiwan ex-presidential official jailed for spying for China

Taiwan and China have spied on each other ever since they split in 1949.

Updated: Nov 25, 2010, 14:38 PM IST

Taipei: A former official in Taiwan`s presidential office was on Thursday sentenced to three years in prison for leaking state secrets to China, a report said.

Wang Ren-bing was convicted by the Taipei district court of passing confidential information on the May 2008 inauguration of President Ma Ying-jeou to Chinese intelligence, said the state Central News Agency.

It was unclear exactly what information about Ma`s inauguration he had passed on, and how it could have been beneficial to China.

Wang reportedly joined the presidential staff in 2001 under Ma`s predecessor, Chen Shui-bian, as tensions between Taipei and Beijing were rising due to Chen`s stance seeking the island`s formal independence from China.

The island`s opposition has warned that Wang`s case highlighted a lingering Chinese threat to the island despite improving ties in the two and a half years since the Beijing-friendly Ma took power.

Taiwan and China have spied on each other ever since they split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. Beijing still claims the island as its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

A court spokesman was not immediately available for comment.