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Taiwan retains ban on China-made telecom equipment: NCC

2018/12/08 17:51:22

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) Taiwan has had a ban in place for the past five years on the use of core telecommunications equipment manufactured by Chinese companies, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said Saturday, in response to a recent foreign magazine report on the likelihood of the risks posed by such equipment within Taiwan.

NCC deputy chief Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that in 2013, when the NCC was issuing 4G licenses, it stipulated that operators were not permitted to use core telecom network or base station equipment from China.

The decision was made after prudent assessment of the national and information security risks, in light of the sophistication of the 4G cellular network technology, Wong said. He said the restriction remains in place, therefore, there is no need for concern about breaches of security in Taiwan as a result of telecom equipment.

Wong was responding to a Dec. 7 report in the American magazine The National Interest, which discussed how much of a threat Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Inc. poses to Taiwan's security.

Under the headline, Huawei: A Trojan Horse Inside Taiwan, the report said that doing business with the Chinese company has been acceptable at low levels in Taiwan since 2005 and that Huawei equipment was discovered in the core networks of Taiwan telecommunications providers in 2015.

Further back, in 2013, Taiwan's National Security Bureau (NSB) released statistics that showed even the Ministry of Justice's Investigative Bureau and the Presidential Office were using Huawei network cards in their cell phones, the report said.

In April this year, the Chinese company established an outlet in Taipei and is now running a Christmas extravaganza at Banqiao MRT Station in New Taipei, a Huawei-themed show that includes a children's train ride and a massive Santa with the company's logo on it, the report said. It cited Kitsch Liao (廖彥棻), a Taiwan-based cybersecurity specialist, as saying that Huawei has built backdoors that serve as a dual threat to communications, capable of both espionage and sabotage.

Liao said no more evidence is needed than to type in "Huawei" and "TW" in Shodan, a search engine popular among hackers, and the results would show that Taiwan is inundated with Huawei equipment, including webcams.

"The bottom line is that Huawei and ZTE hardware, even if we were to preclude claims of Chinese security apparatus working through them, are inherently unsafe," he said in the report. "I believe that government agencies and contractors should establish strict rules regarding the use of personal devices made in China, and that strict penalties should be in place for the unauthorized use of devices in handling government-related documents."

According to the magazine, Huawei has close ties with the People's Liberation Army and Ministry of State Security in China. The state-owned China Mobile Communications Group is Huawei's largest shareholder, basically making Huawei an appendage of Beijing's techno-Orwellian order, it said.

The issue of Huawei as a security risk has been in the international news over the past week as Western countries moved to block use of its core telecom equipment for 5G networks.

It also coincided with the arrest Wednesday of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟) in Canada, at the request of the American government, allegedly for the company's violation of sanctions against Iran.

Meng is the daughter of Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei (任正非).

(By Jiang Chin-yeh and Frances Huang)
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