Taiwan and US join forces on 5G security in move to exclude China

One of the key battlegrounds in the U.S.-China tech cold war is 5G telecommunications technology.   © Nikkei montage

LAULY LI and CHENG TING-FANG, Nikkei staff writers August 26, 2020 16:22 JST, Updated on August 26, 2020 17:08 JST

Joint declaration bolsters ‘Clean Network’ initiative as Huawei fights for future

TAIPEI — Taiwan and the U.S. on Wednesday issued a joint declaration on 5G security, strengthening their cooperation under Washington’s “Clean Network” initiative to block major Chinese tech companies including Huawei.

The joint declaration — announced by officials from the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy on the self-ruled democratic island, and top officials from Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry and National Communication Commission — comes amid warming ties between the two governments and an ever-icier tech cold war between the U.S. and China.

One of the key battlegrounds in that conflict is fifth generation or 5G telecommunications technology. Fast and low-latency 5G networks promise to drive advances on everything from autonomous cars to drones and sophisticated military hardware. Citing alleged national security threats, Washington has been lobbying other countries to exclude Chinese companies from these sensitive networks, especially Huawei but also the likes of ZTE.

Excerpt

The joint declaration announced on Wednesday calls for “rigorous” evaluation of 5G hardware and software suppliers. It lists several criteria for judging such companies: whether they are subject “to control by a foreign government,” whether they are “financed openly and transparently,” whether they have “transparent ownership, partnerships, and corporate governance structures,” and whether they have “a commitment to innovation and respect for intellectual property rights.”

“Protecting these next-generation communications networks from disruption or manipulation as well as the privacy and individual liberties are vital to ensuring our economies are able to take advantage of the tremendous economic opportunities 5G will enable,” the statement reads.

The AIT’s Christensen, speaking at the MAPECT 2020 International Investment Forum in Taipei, called for “ensuring countries like China do not hold supply chains hostage for political purposes” and for “working with like-minded partners, including Taiwan, Japan and the European Union and others, to develop new supply chains based on shared values, standards, environmental, and labor practices.”

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