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ROC Central News Agency

2005-12-13 19:54:06

    Taipei, Dec. 13 (CNA) An ROC diplomat admitted on Wednesday that the case concerning a former ranking U.S. official, who admitted Tuesday in court his guilt on three charges in connection with Taiwan's intelligence personnel, affects Taiwan-U.S. relations, but the damage is under control.

    David Lee, Taiwan's representative to the U.S., made the remarks at the Legislative Yuan. He returned to Taipei from Washington, D.C. to give a report.

    Lee said that he believes Donald W. Keyser, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state in charge of East Asian affairs, entered a guilty plea in exchange for a reduction in sentencing.

    His lawyer must have negotiated with the court, since the U.S. government would not want details of the case to become public to protect state secrets, Lee said.

    Keyser, who was arrested last year by U.S. justice authorities, admitted in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to deliberately concealing from his superiors that he had taken a trip to Taiwan last September, and that he had maintained an "undisclosed personnel relationship" with a female Taiwanese intelligence officer since September 2002.

    The former official also admitted that he had taken confidential documents away from the State Department without authorization. He confessed that his actions had made him vulnerable.

    Keyser, 62, was arrested Sept. 15, 2004 as he was delivering documents to two officials of Taiwan's National Security Bureau at a riverbank restaurant in a suburban of Washington, D.C.

    Lee said that he had contacted the U.S. State Department many times since Keyser was arrested to declare that the last thing the Republic of China government would do was to illegally collect intelligence on U.S soil. "So far, the communication channel [between the U.S. and Taiwan] is still open," he noted.

    Keyser faces a possible prison sentence of up to 13 years and a maximum fine of US$500,000. The federal court is set to issue its ruling on the case Feb. 24.

(By Elizabeth Hsu)



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