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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

MND opposes return of defector

ROC Central News Agency

2009.05.06 13:20:58

By Deborah Kuo

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense opposes the return to Taiwan of World Bank Senior Vice President Justin Yifu Lin, who defected to China nearly 30 years ago when he was a Republic of China Army officer, a deputy defense minister said Wednesday.

Deputy Minister of National Defense Lin Yu-pao said in a question and answer session at the Legislative Yuan that the World Bank official is currently still on the military's wanted list for defecting to the enemy.

"Justin Yifu Lin is not welcome home at present in accordance with ROC law, " the deputy defense minister said in response to a question raised by ruling Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang.

The KMT lawmaker asked whether the Defense Ministry would agree with or oppose a scenario under which China's top economist wants to return to Taiwan for a visit.

Noting that the Defense Ministry strictly follows the nation's laws, Lin Yu-pao said the issue would require further internal discussions on whether there are wide gaps between the law and reality in this case.

Justin Yifu Lin took up his World Bank position in June 2008, after serving for 15 years as a professor in Peking University's China Center for Economic Research, which he founded. He is on leave from the university while working at the World Bank.

He went "missing" May 16, 1979 when he was serving as an ROC Army company leader on the frontline island of Kinmen.

Lin, whose original name was Lin Cheng-yi, filed an application from Beijing in May 2002 to return to Taiwan to attend his father's funeral. He had admitted in many television interviews that he swam across the channel separating Kinmen and Xiamen in China's Fujian province on May 16, 1979 to seek a new life and new career.

Taipei authorities approved his application but warned that he could face the legal consequences of his defection if he returned.

As a result, Lin sent his wife to Taiwan to attend the funeral on his behalf. Lin's wife established contact with him several years after his defection and went to China to be reunited with him in the late 1980s.

The Defense Ministry has asserted in the past that Lin's action constitutes surrendering to the enemy, treason and desertion from the front line, all of which carry a maximum penalty of death.

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