August 26, 2020
A joint declaration has removed any doubt about where the island nation, which China thinks it owns, stands on the matter of 5G security.
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which functions as an embassy, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) issued a joint declaration of 5G security that concluded as follows: ‘We believe that it is critical to transition from untrusted network hardware and software suppliers in existing networks to trusted ones through regular lifecycle replacements. Such efforts will not only improve our respective security, but also provide opportunities for private sector innovators to succeed under free and fair competition and benefit our respective digital economies.’
In case there was any doubt about who those untrusted suppliers might be, AIT Director Brent Christensen included the following in his accompanying commentary: “We are proud to stand with Taiwan, a truly reliable partner, to publicly proclaim our shared values and close cooperation on 5G security… Due to the way 5G networks are built, it is impossible to separate any one part of the network from another.
“The 5G Clean Path is an end-to-end communication path that does not use any transmission, control, computing, or storage equipment from extremely problematic, untrusted IT vendors, such as Huawei and ZTE. The 5G Clean Path embodies the highest standards of security against untrusted, high-risk vendors’ ability to disrupt, manipulate or deny services to private citizens, financial institutions, or critical infrastructure. We are happy that Taiwan is a member of the 5G Clean Path Initiative.
The declaration identified the following evaluations required to make sure nothing sullied the clean path.
1) Whether network hardware and software suppliers are subject, without independent judicial review, to control by a foreign government;
2) Whether network hardware and software suppliers are financed openly and transparently using standard best practices in procurement, investment, and contracting;
3) Whether network hardware and software suppliers have transparent ownership, partnerships, and corporate governance structures; and
4) Whether network hardware and software suppliers exemplify a commitment to innovation and respect for intellectual property rights.
It’s intriguing that Taiwan is making such a public show of siding with the US on this, since it’s bound to provoke China by doing so. The Chinese Communist Party throws its toys out of the pram at the mere mention of Taiwan as an independent state, such that even the WHO doesn’t dare go there. There’s likely to be some kind of public hissy fit over this too and Taiwan is increasingly becoming the focus of the tensions between the US and China.
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