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Simon Chang: risks in CSSTA telecoms expansion are acceptable
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-09 03:36 PM
264 experts in electrical engineering have presented a petition opposing a section in the Cross-strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) which opens up Type II telecommunications and computer and related services in the Taiwan market. In an appearance at the Legislative Yuan Wednesday, Minister of Science and Technology Simon Chang acknowledged that opening up these areas of technological services could lead to conflicts, saying there may be some “car crashes” and “some people could get killed”, there is that risk, "but we are capable of dealing with it."

Chang’s analogy was criticized by DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung as "neither fish nor fowl." Lin also criticized Chang for failing to become involved in the negotiations on CSSTA at any stage of the process, then turning around to offer an endorsement of the trade pact on behalf of the National Communications Commission (NCC).

Second-class telecoms would be opened to Chinese investors under the terms of CSSTA, including the areas of network access, network dumps and data exchange. Chang admitted in an interview Tuesday that exposing businesses in these areas would be like unleashing motor vehicles on a roadway swarming with bicycles, saying it would be impossible to deny that there might be some fatalities, "but is there a need to really worry about it?"

Chang faced an interpellation at the Legislative Yuan Wednesday. Lin Chia-lung claimed that as Minister of Science and Technology Chang has never gotten involved in trade negotiations and subsequent processing operations and has never been invited to participate on a committee or on a task force. Lin said Chang has been remiss in his duties and is not fit to offer any endorsements related to CSSTA.

Chang admitted that the three terms make some academics nervous, but added that the NCC actually defines the terms very narrowly. He stressed that they involve closed networks and are not the latest in Internet technology. Given these two limitations, he said, information security is not a great concern. "So I said the network has a few information security concerns, but compared to what we face every day, now with the prospect of an “invasion” from the other side, like driving or riding a bicycle some people might get killed, there is such a risk, but we are capable of dealing with it."

Lin Chia-lung said the warning from the 264 experts and scholars against opening up second class telecommunications through CSSTA should not be ignored. Chang countered that there may be some misunderstandings involved, prompting Lin to retort that if it’s written clearly in black and white, how can anyone misunderstand it? Lin said he would take the word of the 264 experts and scholars over that of the Minister of Science and Technology.

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