China has called on Taiwanese spies to switch sides as part of a campaign in which Beijing claims to have uncovered hundreds of cases of spying by Taipei on the mainland.
The comments come as military tensions between the two countries reach levels not seen for years with Taiwan regularly forced to scramble fighter jets to counter Chinese air force manoeuvres close to the island.
“We welcome the wise elements in Taiwan’s intelligence services who support the unification of the motherland . . . to completely abandon the ‘Taiwan independence’ ideology,” the People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist party mouthpiece, said in a commentary published on Thursday.
Beijing rolled out the anti-espionage campaign immediately after Taiwan celebrated its National Day last weekend.
Analysts said the campaign was a form of political warfare intended as a rejection of a call by Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen in her National Day address for “meaningful dialogue” between Taiwan and China.