Taiwan is reinforcing its five-year-old ban on network equipment produced by Chinese companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. amid security concerns.
Officials sought over the weekend to reassure lawmakers and the public that such measures have been effective and the threat to the communications sector is minimal.
Huawei has established a presence in Taiwan, with its handsets among the top sellers. The company also sponsors a Christmas extravaganza in a Taipei suburb that features a giant Santa emblazoned with Huawei’s logo.
While several countries have similar bans in place, the risk for Taiwan is potentially greater since China claims the island as its own territory and threatens to use military force to bring it under its control. Back-doors that some allege Huawei has built into its products could give Beijing access to military and economic secrets or even to disable crucial infrastructure in the event of a conflict.
Taiwan has already accused China of meddling in last month’s local elections by spreading false news online.
On Monday, legislators called for extending a ban on Huawei to the financial industry, where it reportedly has sought business providing digital finance services.
Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Wellington Koo was quoted by local media as saying the government would have to look into the legality of such a move.
Huawei, based in southern China’s Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, is the world’s largest supplier of network gear. ZTE is one of its rivals.