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Shangri-La Dialogue: Germany asks China not to poach ex-air force pilots in fear of leaking NATO secrets

Source : Firstpost

Shangri-La Dialogue: Germany asks China not to poach ex-air force pilots in fear of leaking NATO secrets
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu (Photo: Britta Pedersen/dpa)

Shangri-La Dialogue: Germany asks China not to poach ex-air force pilots in fear of leaking NATO secrets

China has been recruiting Germany’s ex-air force pilots and so the latter has asked the former to stop doing so, fearing they would spill NATO-related secrets.

“I raised the question of Germany air force pilots who have apparently been recruited to train (Chinese) pilots,” Defence Minister Boris Pistorius told reporters.

He was speaking after meeting his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu on the margins of a defence and security conference in Singapore.

“I indicated clearly that I expected this practice to cease immediately and told him he probably wouldn’t be very pleased either if I tried to do the same thing,” Pistorius added.

Pistorius claimed that Li “did not deny it but downplayed its importance.”

According to the German weekly Der Spiegel and public TV channel ZDF reported on Friday that China has been employing German pilots to train their own pilots.

Their salaries were apparently paid via shell companies in the Seychelles, the media said.

The matter is of deep concern to the parliamentary committee overseeing the German secret services, they reported.

“We are worried that military personnel who have previously worked for the German state could be in jobs that could lead them to betray state secrets,” the head of the parliamentary committee told ZDF.

These German pilots were once part of NATO exercises and flew Eurofighter jets.

Berlin fears that secrets concerning interventions and tactics used by the transatlantic military alliance could be revealed to the Chinese.

Similar cases have surfaced in Britain and the United States in recent years.

They come at a time of heightened tensions between China and neighbouring Taiwan.

China claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to take it one day — by force if necessary.

Since 2016, Beijing has ramped up air and sea incursions around the island.

With inputs from AFP Shangri-La Dialogue: Germany asks China not to poach ex-air force pilots in fear of leaking NATO secrets Shangri-La Dialogue: Germany asks China not to poach ex-air force pilots in fear of leaking NATO secrets IgMp

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