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Taiwan says it hopes to bring back soldier who went to China

The soldier disappeared from the frontline island of Kinmen last week before being discovered in China.

Taiwan’s defense minister has said the government of the self-governed territory is investigating the disappearance of a soldier who served on an offshore island found in China.

Speaking to reporters in parliament, Chiu Kuo-cheng said: “We certainly hope to bring him back home. So how do we get him back? There are alternative channels that we are pursuing.”

He did not go into those channels.

The minister denied what he called rumors that the soldier had fled beatings from the army.

When asked if there was any risk that the missing soldier would release classified information about military deployment and location, he replied: “Regardless of whether he has such capability, which we neither confirm nor deny, we would not make large-scale strategic adjustments to restrict all information provided by this one person.

The soldier, who served on the islet of Erdan, part of the Kinmen Islands close to China’s coast, went missing last week and was found Monday.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office has not commented on the matter.

China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has increased military and political pressure over the past three years to try to get Taiwan to accept Chinese sovereignty. The government of Taiwan rejects Beijing’s claims, saying it is up to the people of Taiwan to determine their future.

During the height of the Cold War, defectors from both sides sometimes swam between China and Kinmen, which can be less than 2 km (1.6 mi) from Chinese-controlled territory at low tide.

From there, Justin Lin, who became chief economist of the World Bank in 2008, swam over to China in 1979.

Taiwan has controlled Kinmen, as well as the Matsu Islands further along the Chinese coast, since the Nationalist government of the Republic of China fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the civil war with the communists, who established the People’s Republic of China in Beijing.