Taiwan’s digital minister depicts Chinese telecom equipment as ‘Trojan Horse’

Taiwan has blocked Chinese companies from investing in its core infrastructure since 4G era: Audrey Tang

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Digital Minister Audrey Tang (Facebook, JUST IN XX photo)

Digital Minister Audrey Tang (Facebook, JUST IN XX photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s digital minister has warned of the danger of including Chinese equipment in telecom infrastructure, likening its use to bringing in a “Trojan Horse.”

Using products made by China-linked companies risks rendering networks ever more vulnerable with each system update, said Audrey Tang (唐鳳), Taiwan's hacker-turned-minister without portfolio, in an interview with Nikkei Asian Review. Tang has spearheaded a variety of digital initiatives, including the development of applications to aid in the country's fight against the coronavirus.

Taiwan had the foresight to take action against potential Chinese infiltration by rejecting Chinese equipment six years ago when the country launched its 4G network, she stated. Last month, the country's leading telecommunications company Chunghwa Telecom inaugurated commercial 5G services using tech from Sweden-based Ericsson instead of controversy-laden Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

The U.S. has blocked Huawei from accessing its technologies and doing business with American companies over security concerns. Under pressure from the U.S., the U.K. this week moved to bar Huawei from its 5G network as well in a reversal of policy as countries worldwide continue to weigh the implications of allowing the company to be an internet services supplier.

Tang also made the case for Taiwan sharing its experience countering cybersecurity attacks with the rest of the world. If Taiwan detects traces of a digital threat, “we could share [that] with the other countries, as they might be the next target," the report quoted her as saying.

Taiwan and the U.S. jointly held their first Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercises (CODE) last year to help bolster Taiwan’s capabilities against cyberattacks, a majority of which originate in China.