Philippine military says no risk from China-backed towers

In this news, we discuss the Philippine military says no risk from China-backed towers.

The Philippine military leader said on Tuesday that there was virtually no risk that communications towers and equipment set up in military camps by a China-backed telecommunications company could be used for espionage. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said installing towers and equipment from Dito Telecommunity Corp., a Filipino company in which Beijing’s China Telecom has a 40 percent financial stake, in camps would allow the military to better monitor its operations. operations.

“We don’t see any security risk, it’s very low and we find it better that they are inside because we might have unannounced inspections. We could inspect them at midnight, ”Gapay told reporters on a video conference. Dito has been accepted by the Philippine government as the third major player in the local telecommunications industry. The company is controlled by Filipino businessman Dennis Uy, a supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has long complained about poor internet connections and mobile phone services in the country.

Critics and some lawmakers have raised concerns that China could spy on the Philippines through Dito’s communications equipment to be installed in military camps, given the long-running territorial disputes between Asian neighbors in China. South China Sea. The Philippines is a conventional ally of the United States. The Trump administration wanted its allies to rule out Chinese companies like telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Ltd., which Washington views as a security risk, as they move to fifth-generation, or 5G, technology.

Chinese authorities have accused Washington of discrediting and oppressing Chinese companies without any evidence. Dito officials said such fears about possible espionage were misplaced, saying the Philippine company has invested heavily in cybersecurity and will never pose a threat to the country’s national security.

Dito is negotiating the installation of communication towers and equipment at 22 sites in a proposal that the military will take a closer look at, Gapay said. The other two major Philippine telecommunications companies have installed towers and equipment in military zones after passing the same military exam, he said. Telecommunications towers have been erected in areas controlled by the military in the past for security reasons. Communist and Muslim guerrillas bombed and overthrew such towers, including government-maintained electricity transmission towers.

The military uses a classified communications system to link units across the country, Gapay said, adding that the military has set up cybersecurity units to protect its communications system. The Philippine military, meanwhile, plans to obtain radars and drones from Japan, including some that would be used in offshore areas to help monitor Manila’s claimed territories in the disputed South China Sea, said. Gapay.

The Philippines have struggled to conduct naval and air patrols to protect their territorial interests in the disputed region, which Gapay says remains “very tense.” He cited China’s recent missile fire during an exercise and its militia forces “virtually invading” many areas of the strategic waterway. The US military has pressured its freedom of navigation campaign with a “show of force,” he said. “It’s really a potential flashpoint in this part of the globe,” Gapay said.

News Highlights:

  • Gen. Gilbert Gapay said installing towers and equipment from Dito Telecommunity Corp., a Filipino company in which Beijing’s China Telecom has a 40 percent financial stake, in camps would allow the military to better monitor its operations. operations. “We don’t see any security risk, it’s very low and we find it better that they are inside because we might have unannounced inspections.
  • Philippine military says there is no risk of China-backed towers
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