Taipei, Taiwan

A Taiwanese soldier who went lacking final week from an island close to the Chinese language coast has been present in mainland China, a Taiwan official stated on Monday, elevating the opportunity of a extremely uncommon defection amid heightened tensions throughout the Taiwan Strait.

Talking to reporters, Chiu Tai-san, minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, stated China had notified Taiwan that the soldier, surnamed Chen, is at the moment in mainland China.

Chen was reported lacking on Erdan island following a roll name, the Taiwanese Protection Ministry stated in an announcement Thursday, including it had arrange a particular process power to find him.

Erdan, a part of the Taipei-controlled Kinmen islands, is positioned lower than 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the Chinese language port metropolis of Xiamen in southeastern Fujian province.

In recent times, Beijing has ramped up financial, diplomatic and army strain on Taiwan – a self-ruling democracy the Chinese language Communist Get together claims as its personal regardless of having by no means ruled it.

China’s Individuals’s Liberation Military (PLA) often sends plane and warships near Taiwan, in a marketing campaign geared toward intimidating the island and carrying down its gear.

On Monday, Chiu stated the Taiwanese Protection Ministry has present mechanisms to find out whether or not the soldier needs to be recognized as a deserter.

He added that the Taiwanese and Chinese language sides have communication channels to deal with emergency conditions and fight crime. “The protection ministry and coast guard administration are actively understanding the related progress and scenario,” Chiu stated.

CNN has reached out to Taiwan’s Protection Ministry for remark.

Whereas defection between the 2 sides has been not often heard of in recent times, it was once a extra frequent incidence.

In 2002, Taiwan’s then-minister of protection stated the Taiwanese army noticed 20 instances of defections to China between 1949 and 1989.

Defectors from either side had been seen as large propaganda wins – and typically rewarded in money.

In 1981, China paid a reward of $370,000 to a Taiwanese Air Pressure main who defected to the mainland with an American-built reconnaissance airplane – a beneficial asset for the PLA on the time.

Different defectors would swim between China and Kinmen. The closest distance between the principle island of Kinmen and the Chinese language coast, at low tide, is lower than 2 kilometers (1.6 miles).

In 1979, Justin Lin, a Taiwanese floor power captain and firm commander, swam throughout that channel to defect to China. He went on to review on the prestigious Peking College and turn into a high-profile economist.

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