China and Taiwan have released jailed spies in a measure of mutual goodwill following the historic meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou.
China released Colonel Zhu Gongxun and Colonel Xu Changguo of Taiwan’s Military Intelligence, who were detained for more than nine years.
Meanwhile, Taiwan granted advance parole for Chinese spy Li Zhihao, according to a statement released by the Taiwanese president’s office.
“This is based on a mutual goodwill gesture delivered by the Ma-Xi meeting,” said presidential spokesman Charles Chen in the statement. “President Ma hopes cross-strait mutual exchanges can continue and make more concrete achievements in the future.”
Xi and Ma’s historic meeting marked the first time leaders from both sides held a formal meeting in more than 60 years. The rendezvous was met with a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment on the democratic island of Taiwan.
The nationalists retreated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists, who control the mainland today. Beijing still sees Taiwan as a break-away province and it has not taken military force off the table as a response to a formal declaration of independence from Taiwan.
The meeting comes ahead of presidential elections in Taiwan which pits the Kuomintang Party (KMT) against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is seen as more vocal on potential independence.