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High profile China-Taiwan spy case sends tremor through strengthening ties

The high-profile arrest will do more damage to Taiwan, where officials are under scrutiny for missing the suspected espionage, than it will to Taiwan-China relations.

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Taiwan's arrest of its highest-level suspected spy for China will tickle Beijing, irritate Washington, and embarrass the local government but have little lasting affect on efforts by the three sides to get along, despite a history of tensions.

China stands to gain another point from from the Jan. 25 arrest of Taiwan Gen. Lo Hsien-che, who is accused of steadily leaking it secrets since 2004, analysts say, as the case may cause US officials to question their military involvement in territory that Beijing claims as its own.

Meanwhile, Washington should wonder whether Lo handed over information on low-key but high-tech and multilayered US military cooperation with its strategic ally Taiwan, say observers. China sees itself as the owner of self-ruled Taiwan and staunchly opposes US military aid to the island.

"Washington will not forget, and Beijing becomes a big winner if this weakens Taipei-US ties," says Lin Chong-pin, strategic studies professor at Tamkang University in Taiwan.

Taiwan's military must investigate further to find out what General Lo leaked in what officials call their worst spy case ever, says deputy defense minister Andrew Yang.

Lo had met Chinese counterparts offshore, complicating the case, says Mr. Yang. He adds that the probe may point to additional suspects but would not specify what information might have been leaked.

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