Taiwan ex-President Ma found not guilty of leaking secrets

Taiwan's China-friendly former president, Ma Ying-jeou, has been found not guilty of leaking classified information concerning a senior opposition legislator.

Taipei District Court spokesman Liao Chien-yu said Friday the court found the charges against Ma either lacked evidence or that his actions were legal.

The 67-year-old U.S.-educated legal scholar was credited with improving relations with China, Taiwan's chief political and military rival, during his two terms from 2008 to 2016.

Those relations have suffered a sharp downturn under Ma's successor, Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse Beijing's view that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory.

Ma issued a statement commenting on the verdict, saying he hoped it would set a precedent allowing presidents to serve their terms without having to worry about suffering "pointless entanglements" after leaving office.