BEIJING, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- China arrested 36 people for allegedly stealing military secrets for Taiwan after Taiwan's president revealed knowledge of the mainland's missiles.
In a recent speech calling for a referendum on China's military threat, Taiwan President Chen Shuibian said Beijing had 496 missiles aimed at the island. The detailed information triggered Beijing's hunt for a spy network in the mainland.
According to Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, China arrested 21 alleged spies from Taiwan and 15 from the mainland. It is the largest such network to be arrested in recent years.
The article quoted a retired official from Taiwan's Military Information Bureau as saying the bureau had lost contact with agents deployed in China since Chen's Nov. 30 speech.
Some of the accused were businessmen working in China's southern provinces of Guangdong, Fujian and Shandong.