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ROC Central News Agency

2005-12-13 23:42:35

    Washington, Dec. 12 (CNA) A former senior official at the State Department admitted in court Monday that he had a personal relationship with a Taiwanese woman intelligence official stationed in Washington, D.C.

    While pleading guilty to several charges to a court in Alexandra, Virginia, Donald Keyser, former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said he felt sorry for concealing from his superiors at the State Department his trip to Taiwan in 2003 for a secret meeting with Taiwan intelligence official Isabelle Cheng, with whom he said he developed a personal relationship in the course of his official duties in the State Department.

    Keyser said he didn't report his Taiwan trip because he didn't want to disclose the extent of this personal relationship with Cheng to others, particularly his wife.

    Although the 62-year-old veteran diplomat said he knew his relationship with the 31-year-old Cheng might make him vulnerable to coercion, or exploitation from a foreign government, he claimed no effort to exploit him was ever made.

    In his guilty plea, Keyser also admitted that he unlawfully removed classified documents from the State Department but claimed that he didn't disclosed them to anyone, and none of this had anything to do with Cheng.

    Keyser who faces up to 13 years in prison, will be sentenced on Feb. 24, 2006.

    FBI agents trailed Keyser in the summer of 2004 and found him meeting with Cheng frequently at restaurants around Washington, D.C. and exchanging papers with her.

    He was charged with lying about his trip to Taiwan on Sept. 15, 2004 and retired from the State Department 15 days later.

    Cheng, who works for Taiwan's National Security Bureau, was called back by Taiwan authorities after the incident. The National Security Bureau has refused to comment on the case from the beginning, and has not disclosed Cheng's whereabouts.

(By Maubo Chang)



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