Taiwan – Missing Taiwanese soldier found in China

File – A Taiwan Army soldier during independence anniversary celebrations. – LIN YEN TING / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

A Taiwanese professional soldier who went missing from his post in Kinmen County on Thursday is in China, although it is still too early to determine whether the serviceman has deserted, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has said.

MAC Minister Chiu Tai San said the Chinese authorities had notified Taiwan of the soldier’s whereabouts while they are in the process of returning him to the island, CNA reported.

Chiu has emphasized that Taiwan will follow similar procedures to return Chinese nationals found illegally entering Taiwan, adding that the sides have traditionally had a mechanism to communicate on issues such as emergency response and anti-crime.

As for accusations and speculation that the soldier is a »deserter,» Chiu has reiterated that this is a legal determination that could only be made by the Ministry of National Defense, according to the cited agency.

The soldier, 26, identified as a private first class, was reported missing after failing to report for roll call Thursday morning on Erdan Island, a small island in Kinmen’s Lieyu Township, located less than 5 kilometers from China.