A Taiwan-born US naval officer is under trial on the suspicion that he gave sensitive information to Chinese contacts in Taiwan. According to US Navy spokesperson, Lt. Cmdr. Stephanie Turo, the accused, Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin is reported to have been passing secret information regarding national defense, which may involve troop and naval deployment in the Korean peninsula.

What kind of information did Edward Lin give to China?

Details of the case are still undisclosed, but according to reports, the information is confidential US military data. It was also alleged that Lin was involved in passing information to china, through Taiwan.

The Navy suspects that Lin was spying for China and Taiwan since 2012.

The US has a long-standing relationship with Taiwan to the irritation of Beijing. It is a known fact that mainland China hopes to retake the independent island country, which broke away after World War Ii and the subsequent rise of Mao Zedong. The news of espionage is alarming to US defense as it will exponentially compromise all military deployment in Asia and in the Korean peninsula. Lin's trial is expected to start later this week.

How big is US presence in Taiwan?

During the cold war, Taiwan was part of the US strategy to check the movements of Communist China. The island, which was formerly called "Formosa," is a strategic location and was nicknamed the "unsinkable aircraft carrier" by General MacArthur.

Because of this, a contingent of US forces were deployed there throughout the cold war.

Today, there is no physical presence of American military in Taiwan but mutual ties between the two countries continue. This is worrisome for China as reclamation of the island is among its foremost goals in the future.

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Taiwan's role in the ongoing Korean crisis

As US forces continue to converge in the Korean peninsula, Taiwan's role is to check China's movements in the East and South China seas. The closest American military base to Taiwan is the US naval base in Okinawa, which has been under American control since the end of World War II.

Japan is the only foreign country to house the largest contingent of US forces in the world. Okinawa also has 62% of all US bases in Japan. This is why the presence of espionage near this area is so alarming.

Common punishment for espionage is the death penalty, especially if the action caused a breach of national security and placed American lives in jeopardy. It is not sure how much information the alleged Taiwanese spy handed to Chinese operatives but it was enough to place extreme effort on capturing him and halting his espionage. At the moment Mr. Lin's family are adamant that their family member is innocent and that it is unbelievable that Lin is capable of such treachery.