MANILA — HAVING A Chinese firm as the third major telecommunications company in the country could have national security implications, former President Benigno Aquino III warned on Monday.
Aquino said that while the country should continue to engage in a free trade with China, “there are things that have national security implications.”
He said that with the ongoing maritime dispute between the two countries, there could be an “actual potential conflict” if and when China becomes part of the Philippines’ infrastructure communication.
Aquino recalled that years ago, the US and Australia cited national security as a reason why they did not allow Chinese communications and technology companies to take part in businesses in their countries, including the national broadband networks.
The two countries were concerned about China’s possible cyber-snooping.
“Maraming bagay na tila baliktad sa pananaw namin. Sana ang pinagbabasehan nila ay mas tama sa pinagbasehan namin,” Aquino said.
(There are many things where we have opposing views. I hope their basis is better than ours.)
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a recent press conference that Mr. Duterte offered to China the privilege to operate the third telecoms carrier in the country.
Roque said the President made the offer during his recent bilateral talks with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
The country’s telecoms industry is dominated by Globe Telecoms and Smart Communications. /je