Taiwan, China in first exchange of captured spies

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Taiwan and China exchanged captured spies for the first time, news reports said Monday, amid a warming of ties and after the leaders met for the first time this month.

Two Taiwan citizens who were both nine years into 20-year sentences for espionage in China were released “on parole” and flew back to Taiwan on October 13, Taipei Defence Ministry spokesman Major General David Lo was cited as saying by the Chinese-language China Times.

In return, Taiwan released a detained Chinese spy, and was considering releasing another, the report said, according to an English-language account by Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

The People’s Republic of China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since the end of a civil war in 1949 and there are no formal cross-strait diplomatic relations.

But tensions have eased since President Xi Jinping of China and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou met in Singapore on November 7 for the first talks between the territories’ leaders.

“President Ma hopes the goodwill across the strait will continue” after the spy exchange, his spokesman Charles Chen said Monday.

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