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American officials call for safe 5G set-up

American officials underscore necessity for safer 5G set-up

MANILA – Undersecretary Keith Krach said enough measures are being made by the U. S. government as it prepares for the 5G technology.

Speaking at a teleconference held early Wednesday night, Mr. Krach, Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment said Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will transfer to Arizona to produce what he described as the world’s “most advanced 5-nanometer chip.”

He said the company will spend some US$12 billion beginning next year over a two-year period.

He referred to the deal as “a quantum leap” in 5G security for the United States and its partners because TSMC is the world’s leading producer of chips that power smartphones to 5G base stations to fighter jets to advanced artificial intelligence.

Undersecretary Krach said Secretary Michael Pompeo announced recently the 5G Clean Path initiative which requires all 5G data entering or exiting U.S. diplomatic facilities to “transit only through trusted equipment and never through equipment from untrusted vendors such as Huawei and ZTE.”

“The Clean Path embodies the highest standards of security against untrusted, high-risk vendors by blocking their ability to siphon sensitive information into the hands of the People’s Republic of China,” he added.

He further said they are calling on their allies and partners to require a 5G Clean path for their own diplomatic facilities.

Undersecretary Krach the closed the loophole with Huawei, which he accused of exploiting technology and threatened global economic security. He said Huawei cannot be trusted to respect the rule of law because it is required by the PRC to cooperates with Beijing’s security and intelligence service, in observance of the National Intelligence Act that requires any company whether state-owned or not to turn-over information to PRC.

Asst. Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Dr. Christopher Ford TSMC’s entry is a “bad day” for Huawei because of a recent announcement on adjustments in the Foreign Direct Product Rule.

“The trouble with Huawei has been brewing for quite some time. This goes back to early 2019, when the U. S. Department of Justice announced an indictment under U. S. criminal law of Huawei for a number of crimes, stealing intellectual property from companies in the United states, and helping Iran evade U. S. sanctions. A second indictment came out earlier this year,” he added.

Asked about the future of the Philippine semiconductor industry in the Philippines, considering the impact of COVID-19 and the distrust between the United States and China, Undersecretary Krach said the current situation will be a great opportunity for countries into the industry.

“I think this will create a great opportunity because we know a number of nations are pulling supply chains out of China, and I thin it’s being turbocharged by the pandemic. So, I think it bodes well for the country of the Philippines. And they are also a great ally and great trusted partner with the United States,” he said.

Krach concluded that he looks forward to stronger US-Philippine relations.

Mr. Krach was joined by Acting Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Cordell Hull and Ian Steff, Asst. Secretary for Commerce and Global Markets in the 40-minute teleconference. (Melo M. Acuña)

U. S. Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach. (U. S. State Department Photo)

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