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Taiwan entitled to decide whether to admit Snowden: official

ROC Central News Agency

2013/06/12 23:13:46

Taipei, June 12 (CNA) The Republic of China government can decide whether to open doors to a U.S. citizen who leaked top-secret documents about a U.S. surveillance program known as PRISM, a Ministry of Justice (MOJ) official said Wednesday.

PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007, according to Wikipedia.

An Associated Press report said Wednesday that Edward Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee who leaked details about the U.S. government's PRISM eavesdropping programs, may seek asylum in one of a few Asian countries that do not have an extradition pact with the United States.

Those countries include China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia and North Korea, the AP report said.

Snowden was in Hong Kong earlier this month, but the AP report said his whereabouts were unknown Tuesday.

The MOJ official versed in Taiwan-U.S. judicial cooperation said that although the two countries have signed a judicial assistance agreement, the pact does not include extradition of criminals.

If Snowden intends to enter Taiwan, he must obtain a visa, the official said.

'If our diplomatic agency declines to issue him a visa, he cannot enter Taiwan,' said the official, who declined to be identified.

Foreign citizens who enter Taiwan illegally or violate Taiwan's laws will be expelled in accordance with Taiwan's regulations, the official said.

In the past, he said, a wanted American sex offender entered Taiwan via Hong Kong under a special visa-free program. Taiwan's police arrested him at the request of U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The offender was then expelled and escorted to board an aircraft where FBI officials brought him to justice, the official said.

(By Huang Yi-han, Lin Chang-shun and Sofia Wu)

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