Taiwan Former President Visits Chinese Drone Manufacturer in Shenzhen

Taiwan Former President Visits Chinese Drone Manufacturer in Shenzhen
Taiwan Former President Visits Chinese Drone Manufacturer in Shenzhen
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Taiwan’s former President Ma Ying-jeou began his 10-day trip to China on Monday, arriving at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in the afternoon to visit the Shenzhen-based Chinese drone manufacturer DJI Technology (Da-Jiang Innovations, DJI). His visit to DJI has aroused much controversy as the company has not only been sanctioned by the United States but also recently used drones manufactured by DJI to capture aerial footage of Taiwan’s Kinmen Island military camp.

According to Reutersduring this high-profile visit, Ma Ying-jeou is expected to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on the 8th, although this information has not been confirmed by Ma’s office or the Chinese government.

On Monday, Ma arrived in Shenzhen where he was greeted by Pan Xianzhang, Deputy Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, and Zhong Huie, Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of Guangdong Province. The first stop of the visit is to the headquarters of DJI, a major drone manufacturer in China, followed by a visit to the headquarters of Tencent, the parent company of WeChat.

It is expected that he will meet with Song Tao, Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, at the Wuzhou Hotel in Shenzhen in the evening. After the dinner, he will go to Talent Park to watch a drone performance.

According to the local media outlet’s report, the DPP legislator Chen Kuan-Ting pointed out that former President Ma’s visit to DJI, Tencent, and other technology companies with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party has raised concerns in society.

Chen said that Ma’s visit to Chinese companies, which are generally regarded by Western countries as sensitive, may be interpreted as Taiwan’s approval of these companies and their underlying Chinese policies, thereby affecting Taiwan’s relations with Western countries.

Chen also pointed out that Ma’s visit to Chinese drone companies may send the wrong message to domestic industries, affecting Taiwan’s efforts to develop its defense industry chain.

It is worth noting that Kinmen Island was disturbed by Chinese individuals using drones to capture footage of the Kinmen garrison unloading supplies on the weekend of March 29th. Army Chief of Staff Chen Jianyi confirmed on Monday that during a legislative session that the drones disturbing Kinmen Island that day were civilian drones manufactured by the Chinese company DJI.

The Kinmen Defense Command stated that it was judged that the drones were used for long-distance photography and were positioned against the sunlight, making it difficult for the soldiers to spot them in time. However, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng today expressed strong disagreement with this statement, stating that the Kinmen Defense Command did not implement the appropriate procedures and he would take responsibility and hold people accountable.

DJI is a Chinese company that primarily produces and develops commercial drones and aerial photography equipment. According to market reports, DJI’s global market share exceeds 70%.

Shen Mingshi, director of the National Security Institute of the Institute of Defense and Security Studies, said The News Lens that DJI has a significant influence and wide applications. For example, in the Russo-Ukrainian War, although the Chinese government did not officially provide drones to Ukraine, Ukraine purchased many drones produced by DJI through the European market, which were widely used in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

However, Shen also pointed out that there are significant cyber-security concerns regarding DJI’s products. Drones are primarily used for reconnaissance and surveillance, and the surveillance footage can be transmitted through local networks or satellite networks. Whether the data will be transmitted to China through the network or backdoor programs is a concern. Additionally, drones can be controlled remotely by China through built-in programs or Trojan programs.

Shen stated that Taiwan currently prohibits the use of Chinese-made military drones, but there are no restrictions on civilian drones, so people may still purchase them through various channels.

Finally, Shen also warned that China could infiltrate Taiwan through various possible channels or collect information, and drones could be one such channel. If specific precautions are not taken, relevant information may indeed be collected and applied in military operations.

READ NEXT: US Lawmakers To Tackle Regional Security And Trade In Taiwan Visit

TNL Editor: Kim Chan (@thenewslensintl)

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Taiwan President Visits Chinese Drone Manufacturer Shenzhen

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