October 15, 2020

On October 15, the Taiwan Center for Security Studies (TCSS), at the Institute of International Relations, National Chengchi University and the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research, KSA, held a web conference on topics surrounding 5G, IoT, and cybersecurity.

The conference was planned and sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) of the Republic of China. Experts from academia, industry and various government sectors were invited to a virtual meeting and dialogue, culminating in laying the groundwork for future joint opportunities in this field.

During the opening remarks, Ambassador Cheng-Hao Hu from MOFA reaffirmed that “the KSA is a long-standing friend of Taiwan, as well as our main trade partner in the Middle East, and we look forward to conducting exchanges on multiple levels with our Saudi Arabian friends on the issue of cybersecurity.”

The discussions were focused not just on the impetus of 5G technology being adopted worldwide, but also on managing and safeguarding data in an era of digital transformation. Prof. Mohammad Khurram Khan, Founder & CEO of the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies & Research, expressed concerns over the fact that “persistent and tenacious cyber-attacks are threatening the fabric of a hyper-connected society”. As the world races to develop a vaccine in the backdrop of COVID-19, academic institutions and research centers are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

With regards to Beijing, “the US’ ‘decoupling’ strategy can only slow down, but not suffocate China ICT’s sector and we may be witnessing the division of the ICT world”, observed Dr. Hon-Min Yau, Assistant Professor at the Graduate Institute of Strategic Studies and International Affairs, National Defense University. Dr. Yau went on to explain that we should continue to expect further turbulence in this sector due to Sino-US competition in the Indo-Pacific region.

Ms. Fu-Mei Wu, Director of Information & Communication Security Division the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau, Republic of China, also explained to attendees that cyber-attacks in Taiwan are mainly focused on political agendas from hostile foreign actors. Stressing that “active defense by way of information sharing can enhance collaboration and improve skills with the assistance of technology”.

With regards to smart cities and research trends in the KSA, Prof. Omaimah Omar Bamasag, from the Center of Excellence in Smart Environment Research, mentioned that Taiwan can help by providing its expertise and specialization in hardware, such as semiconductors, 5G, and smart devices. Taiwan also possesses advanced human capital with reference to policy and IT experts that could assist in knowledge transfer and future training courses.

Taiwan’s technical community also during this conference explained that Taiwan’s cybersecurity environment is based three main characteristics: The continued boom in the hacker community, cybersecurity consulting startups, and a focus on Fintech and blockchain solutions. Mr. Alan Cheng from the Institute for Information Industry, Republic of China stated that Taiwan further seeks to join global partners in supporting the notion of “Open 5G”.

To conclude, all parties agreed that there is an increased need in collaboration and dialogue across all levels—the think tank level, research level, and industrial level. Mr. Majed Alqbani from the SLNEE Information Technology Company, expressed particular interest in expanding and fostering future partnerships with Taiwanese companies in the tech industry