Saturday 24 March 2018

Chinese aide found to be spy working for the US

Malcolm Moore and Raf Sanchez in Beijing and Washington

AN aide to one of China's most senior security officials has been arrested on suspicion of passing secrets to the United States, in the most serious breach of Chinese intelligence for two decades.

The unnamed aide was detained several months ago, between January and March, but both sides have hushed up the potentially explosive scandal.

His boss, a vice-minister of China's state security ministry, is also thought to have been suspended.

The ministry is responsible for China's domestic and overseas intelligence operations.

Unnamed sources have said that the aide had provided "political, economic and strategic intelligence" to the CIA and had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in return.

"The destruction has been massive," another source said.

The news of the scandal first appeared in the 'World Journal', a Taiwanese-American newspaper published in New York for expatriate Chinese.

It reported that the aide had access to the very highest levels of the Chinese bureaucracy and had provided information on China's overseas intelligence network and on confidential diplomatic negotiations.

According to the 'Journal', the aide is a 38-year-old graduate of Peking University's Institute of International Relations who became a trusted assistant to the vice-minister six years ago. Three years ago, on a work trip to Hong Kong, he was said to have fallen into a "honey trap" involving a female US agent and was subsequently blackmailed into passing information to the CIA.

Last year, officials at the ministry became aware that there was a spy and the aide was eventually drawn out with a series of deliberate leaks.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to comment on the reported arrest and insisted that China and America were continuing to co-operate.

"The goal for our relationship with China is to ensure that we defy history," Mrs Clinton said.

"It has never happened that an established, pre-eminent power, and a rising power, have been able to find a way to not only coexist but co-operate." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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