The National Security Bureau (NSB) yesterday acknowledged the possibility that Chinese service sector businesses could use offices set up in Taiwan for espionage if the cross-strait service trade agreement is implemented.
“As cross-strait exchanges develop further, monitoring the activities of Chinese in Taiwan and their businesses may exceed the NSB’s work capacity in the future and pose a challenge for national security,” National Security Bureau Director Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) told a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee yesterday.
The bureau said that if the pact’s effects see it stretched too thin, an influx of Chinese service sector workers could be a national security risk, but added that it is working on a regulatory mechanism targeting “major, specific” individuals and organizations that could pose a threat to Taiwan.
The bureau also said it has conducted an item-by-item review of security-related issues in the 64 domestic service sectors that would be opened up to Chinese investment and competition.
“We plan to carry out more risk management studies, since the continuing expansion of cross-strait ties could compromise national security and create additional risk. My stance is that we carry out extensive risk analyses as we deepen exchanges with China,” Tsai said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) said the bureau is concerned about the effects the cross-strait trade deal may have on Taiwan’s security, but has refrained from saying so for fear of contradicting President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
At yesterday’s meeting, Chiu asked if government officials know who owns the SF Express (順豐快遞) delivery service, which has started operating in Taiwan, and Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Bill Cho (卓士昭) responded that the company is funded solely by a Hong Kong citizen.
Chiu replied that SF Express is owned by Wang Wei (王衛), who has applied for Chinese citizenship and became a Shenzhen City resident in 2012.
She added that in August last year, two state-run Chinese firms became shareholders in SF Express, effectively making the delivery company a Beijing-funded enterprise.
Cho insisted that the head of SF Express’ Taiwan branch is Wang’s wife, who is a Hong Kong citizen, to which Chiu said: “This is exactly what the public is worried about: China-funded businesses entering Taiwan disguised as Hong Kong-funded or domestic firms, while the government either turns a blind eye to or fails to control them.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a report that the NSB on April 11 joined the Investment Commission responsible for reviewing foreign investment projects.
The change allows NSB officials to participate in the review of all foreign investments, whereas before, this was the case only when Chinese investors were involved or when the bureau’s participation was deemed necessary, Cho said.