Taiwan asks US to check if purchased military gear contains China-made parts


Taiwan has requested the United States military to issue a report investigating whether U.S. military gear with counterfeit parts from China has been sold to Taiwan already, as it could pose a national security threat, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.
The MND’s comments came after a U.S. report released last week revealed the widespread problem in its armed forces of many counterfeit electronic parts making their way into critical defense systems.

More than 70 percent of the parts tracked were traced to China, the report said.

Given the fact that Washington has been one of Taipei’s main military hardware suppliers for decades, a local opposition lawmaker yesterday raised the issue with Deputy Defense Minister Chao Shih-chang (趙世璋) during a question-and-answer session in the Legislature.

“Via Taiwan’s representative office in Washington, we have asked our U.S. counterparts to present a full report on their investigations and their contingency measures (following the finding),” Chao said.

The Pentagon has not made any official response so far, the deputy minister added.

Meanwhile, the MND has ordered all military branches to ask their U.S. counterparts to bolster quality control on their armament to make sure no “Made in China” (MIC) products enter Taiwan’s military, he added.

Chao said Taiwan’s armed forces have very strict regulations regarding purchasing military gear and weapons, and no MIC products are allowed for security reasons.

Finding Threatens National Security: Report

The U.S. report was released by the Senate Armed Services Committee after conducting a yearlong investigation beginning March 2011.

Those parts — which numbered more than 1 million — came from more than 650 companies and are found among U.S. Air Force cargo planes, assemblies used in Special Operations helicopters, and in Navy surveillance planes, the report said.

The report outlines how the flood of counterfeit parts threatens national security and the safety of U.S. troops.

Counterfeit parts included unauthorized copies of an authentic product and previously used parts that were made to look new and sold as new.

The parts often change hands multiple times before being bought by defense contractors, who may know little about the source of the parts they buy, the report said.