The purchasing or use of telecom equipment made in China by local companies has long been restricted because of the nature of communications systems being integral to national security and development, a senior security official said yesterday.
The official, who wished to remain anonymous, was commenting amid the recent uproar over a proposal by a Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團) subsidiary to use Chinese-made equipment to build its fourth-generation (4G) communications network in Taiwan.
Hon Hai is the world’s largest contract electronics maker and one of six local telecoms that have obtained licenses to establish the nation’s first 4G mobile networks.
On Thursday last week, Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) reportedly said that the conglomerate would stop paying taxes if subsidiary Ambit Microsystems (國碁電子) was not allowed to use equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為) to operate its planned 4G services.
Gou said that Ambit Microsystems does not plan to source its key equipment from the Chinese firm, only devices that support backbone transmissions and a perimeter network.
He added that telecom products made by Huawei are allowed in Singapore and in European countries.
Gou said he personally guaranteed that the use of Huawei-made equipment for Ambit Microsystem’s 4G network would not threaten national security.
The National Communications Commission has not yet approved Gou’s proposal to use equipment produced by Huawei because of security concerns.
The security official said that given Huawei’s “special background” and its alleged links to China’s People’s Liberation Army, the government deems communications equipment supplied by the Chinese firm as constituting a “high security risk,” so any purchase would be contingent on review by the National Security Bureau and related information security agencies under the Executive Yuan.
Not all of Huawei’s equipment is deemed problematic to national security, the official said, adding that each type of equipment is assessed individually by government agencies to determine if it poses a potential security risk.
National security agency sources said that the government’s ban on some types of Chinese-manufactured telecom equipment and restrictions on others were the result of a consensus reached by government agencies after detailed discussions.
Unless the higher echelons of the government decide otherwise, the current policy will remain unchanged, the sources said.
Additional reporting by CNA