According to Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chiu Tai-san, China has informed Taiwan that it found Taiwan's missing soldier. The soldier, surnamed Chen, went missing on the 9th from Erdan Island. Taiwan will issue a warrant for Chen's arrest if he does not report back to his base by the 15th.
Chiu Tai-san, Mainland Affairs Council Minister: “I think it's pretty much confirmed that he's on the Mainland.”
On the 13th, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chiu Tai-san said China had notified Taiwan that the soldier missing from Erdan Island was in China. Taiwan's Coast Guard is still trying to find out about the circumstances that led to his disappearance and whether the soldier, surnamed Chen, set off for China intentionally. Lawmaker Chen Yu-jen, who represents Kinmen, put speculation that Chen had either major debt or relationship troubles to rest.
Chen Yu-jen, Legislator (KMT): “(He's) NT$300,000 in debt and he's talked to banks about his situation before he got a girlfriend. So, his life is pretty normal.”
Chen went missing on the 9th, and the military said on the 10th that he'd left his base and would face a military police investigation and a warrant for his arrest if he didn't return on his own within six days. Lawmakers, meanwhile, said Chen was just a regular soldier and had no access to classified information.
Wang Ting-yu, Legislator (DPP): “He didn't have much to do (in the army) and he didn't have access to classified information. We are still trying to find out more.”
Lawmakers are demanding Chen's release so that he can be investigated. Under Article 24 of the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces, "a person who surrenders to an enemy" will face at least 10 years in prison or death. Under Article 39, "a person who tries to get rid of military service over a long period of time or to escape to assume service" will face a maximum of five years in prison. Soldiers that return on their own within six days can get a lighter punishment.
Su Tzu-yun, Director, Div. of Defense Strategy & Resources, INDSR: “If they release Mr. Chen's personal information, China will be able to use that against him. That's the way intelligence goes sometimes.”
The Ministry of National Defense has not commented on the MAC's assertion that Chen is in China. Taiwanese experts say this is the right move because China has not made any public announcements and may have tricks up its sleeve.