May 26, 2009 / 7:16 AM / 11 years ago

Taiwan arrests China tourist for military photos

TAIPEI (Reuters) - A Chinese tourist has been arrested in Taiwan, a self-ruled island China claims as its own, accused of taking illegal photos at a military compound, officials said on Tuesday.

The arrest of the man is the first of its kind since Taiwan began allowing Chinese tourists to visit en masse since July, a measure to stimulate the economy.

Communist China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT fled to the island.

Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary, keeping the island’s military on alert even as ties have improved rapidly since China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008, fostering new trade and transit links.

Military officials have sent the tourist’s case to prosecutors but would not give details on the man’s background or say what photos he took.

“When they heard his accent, our personnel knew he was from mainland China and took him in,” Taiwan defence ministry spokesman Martin Yu said. “Now we will be increasing our protection of secret installations.”

Up to 4,300 Chinese tourists are allowed to visit Taiwan each day.

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