Taiwan Military says no Chinese phones allowed, as Taipei green-lights Mediatek deal with ZTE Corp.

The MOND confirmed Chinese telecom products are banned in the military, days after the Bureau of Foreign Trade approved the sale of Mediatek processors to ZTE Corp., potentially saving the Chinese company

(AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following the decision last week of the U.S. Military to ban the sale of Huawei and ZTE communications products, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MOND) made it clear that Chinese telecom products are completely banned throughout the Taiwanese military.

Minister of National Defense, Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發) on Monday, May 7 declared
that “Taiwan’s military personnel are banned from using any smart or feature phones manufactured by Chinese brands."

In response to questions from a DPP legislator on issues of information security, Yen also emphasized that MOND regulations demand that any handset purchased by the military must include proof of the product’s country of origin and the manufacturer’s name, reports CNA.

However, even as the Taiwanese military reaffirms the security risks that Chinese telecom companies represent, the Taiwanese government has given permission to the smartphone component manufacturer, Mediatek, to partner with ZTE Corp. by supplying processors, potentially saving the Chinese telecom company.

Mediatek’s business decision to offer assistance to ZTE Corp. and the government’s granting of permission for Mediatek to keep ZTE’s smartphone business manufacturing afloat, comes at a time when U.S. companies have been banned from dealing with ZTE for seven years due to the company’s Iran sanction violations.

The company is also being penalized for “providing false statements” to the U.S. government over the issue.

An official with Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade was quoted by Reuters as saying “Taiwan’s government has its own control mechanisms, which is independent of the way the U.S. looks at it in a given situation.”

It was also reported that on Sunday May 6, that ZTE officially filed a formal petition with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security to have the U.S. ban lifted.

ZTE has claimed that the U.S. ban was “unacceptable” and “threatened its survival.” ZTE can now rest a little easier since a friendly Taiwanese company has opted to keep ZTE’s smartphone industry viable, with the permission of the Taiwanese government.