Taipei, May 16 (CNA) Military personnel should report and obtain advance approval for any engagements they have with Chinese people, the Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday.
Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said that under current regulations, military personnel are not permitted to have private engagements with Chinese people. However, in view of the increasing exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in recent years, and the fact that many relatives of military personnel are Chinese, they can now do so as long as they get prior approval.
Luo was responding to reports by Next Magazine, a local tabloid, that Maj. Hsiao Feng-chi, a Mirage fighter jet pilot, is courting a China National Radio reporter recently stationed in Taiwan, in violation of military regulations regarding the engagement of military personnel with Chinese people.
Luo said Hsiao met Li Qian, the reporter, in mid-February. After being informed of Hsiao's suspected impropriety, the ministry immediately took security check measures and began an investigation.
"The Ministry has yet to find anything illegal on the part of Hsaio," Luo said, but added that as his actions violated regulations, the ministry had handed down one demerit and two admonishments, suspended him from flying and transferred him from his previous position.
"Military personnel should be responsible for keeping military secrets in their charge, and any conversations they have with Chinese people should not touch upon related business," Luo noted.
Ministry regulations stipulate that military personnel who engage with Chinese people without obtaining prior approval will risk disciplinary action under the Act of Punishment of the Armed Forces.
In view of the increasing engagements between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, President Ma Ying-jeou has repeatedly called for military personnel to "not let down their guard and combat readiness due to improved cross-strait ties."
The ministry also published regulations in 2009 to remind military personnel about the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of personnel communications.
(By Chen Pei-huang and Lilian Wu)