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June 26, 2017

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Defected scientist not involved in sensitive projects: military

TAIPEI--Taiwanese remote sensing scientist Chen Kun-shan (陳錕山) was not involved in any sensitive research projects in Taiwan before he defected to China, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

Chen had undertaken research projects commissioned by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology and the Defense Ministry's Communications Development Office, all of which were academic in nature and unrelated to key military technologies, said ministry spokesman Luo Shou-he (羅紹和).

Chen, head of the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research at Taiwan's National Central University, went absent without leave last September and has been found to be working at China's State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science.

In a front-page story Friday, the Liberty Times cited an intelligence source as saying that Chen's defection posed a "serious threat" to Taiwan's national security.

As head of the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research, Chen had access to satellite images covering Taiwan and China's military deployments and was in a category of government employees privy to state secrets and restricted from visiting China, the report said.

NCU Dismissed Chen's Professor Position

Chen, a leading expert on remote sensing technology, has secretly defected to China, the Ministry of Education confirmed yesterday.

The ministry is expected to hold a meeting soon to approve a decision by National Central University (NCU) to dismiss Chen from his position as a professor, according to Wang Tso-tai, chief secretary of the ministry.

Chen, who has headed the NCU's Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research since 2001, was suspended by the university in November 2013, two months after he went absent without leave, Wang said.

The university learned through Chinese media reports in March that Chen had been hired to work at China's State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science under Beijing's high-profile "Thousands Talents Program," which seeks to attract overseas scientists, Wang said.

The reports were later verified with Beijing through the Cabinet's Mainland Affairs Council, he added.

NCU confirmed Friday that it had decided on April 7 to dismiss Chen and had submitted the case to the education ministry for final approval.

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