Australian Senator warns against China “Trojan horse” tactics in the Indo-Pacific region.

Outspoken anti-China critic, Australian Senator James McGrath, has warned against the Chinese Community Party’s “Trojan horse” tactics to infiltrate nations.

The Chinese Communist Party government also has a stake in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.”

— Senator James McGrath

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIAN CAPITOL TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA, July 19, 2021 / — Queensland Senator James McGrath has warned that an “iron silk curtain” was being drawn around our region as China expanded its influence.

Sen. McGrath said in a keynote speech to the Australian Senate it was time to face up to the threat posed by an expansionist China. “While China has continued with its wolf warrior diplomacy and while territorial concerns continue to be raised, including in seas off Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, the Chinese Communist Party government and its military arm have been quietly making strategic acquisitions of another kind,” he said.

Sen. McGrath said China was using Communist Party-controlled owned instrumentalities such as China Telecom as “Trojan Horses” to infiltrate the infrastructure of smaller nations in the Indo-China region. “Particularly of concern is China Telecom’s 40 per cent share in Dito Telecommunity, a multi-billion-dollar telecommunications company established in the Philippines,” he said. Many are concerned that Dito Telecommunity is a Trojan horse for spying, including on the armed forces of the Philippines and its allies, the United States and Australia.

“When we consider how many Australian companies house parts of their businesses in the Philippines, such as call centres, this should ring alarm bells with cybersecurity experts. “We must be awake to the Philippines being one of the first dominoes at risk of falling to the nefarious influence of the regime in China,” Sen. McGrath said.

“Some of these were laid bare earlier this year when President Biden expanded the scope of Executive Order 13959, addressing the threat from securities investments that finance certain companies of the People’s Republic of China, originally signed in November last year by President Trump in order to take additional steps to protect the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.
“This expanded executive order increased the list of Chinese companies banned from United States investments from 31 to 59,” he said.

“This is a list of Chinese companies that undermine the security or democratic values of the United States and its allies.” Sen. McGrath pointed out that Asia-Pacific consulting firm Creator Tech* recently released a study into the new telecommunications operator that raised serious concerns about China’s entry into the Philippines telecommunications industry and its control of the national power grid in that country. The report stated: “China Telecom reports to the Central People’s Government in China. This partner of Dito, which describes itself as ‘a main force for building a cyber power,’ is China’s preferred third mobile operator put forward by China’s leaders upon the request of President Duterte. This raises serious questions on cyber security, citizens’ privacy, and national interests. These will have serious repercussions on multiple fronts.”

Creator Tech also noted that this new venture was not happening in isolation. “For example, the Chinese Communist Party government also has a stake in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, or NGCP for short, the corporation in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s state-owned power grid. It is co-owned by the State Grid Corporation of China.”

According to the United States Federal Communications Commission, the Chinese Communist Party Government has ‘substantial control’ over China Telecom. China Telecom describes itself as a ‘main force for building a cyber power’, and it is bound by China’s National Intelligence Law article 7, which states, ‘Any organisation or citizen shall support and assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work in accordance with the law, and keep the secrets of the national intelligence work known to the public’.

Sen. McGrath said he was also concerned about proposals in the Philippines under Senate Bill Number 2094 to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of public utilities, including telecommunications and transportation.
“Filipino lawmakers are rightly concerned that this could allow China to own infrastructure which is crucial to the Philippines,” he said.

*Creator Tech report:

Senator James McGrath
Australian Senate
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July 19, 2021, 13:15 GMT

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