(Bloomberg) -- US and Taiwanese security officials discussed how companies from the self-governing island could adopt key US defense supply chain standards during a relatively rare meeting on American soil in April, according to a senior government official in Taipei.
Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Digital Affairs Chiueh Herming met with US representatives of the National Institute of Standards and Technology at Taiwan’s de facto consulate in San Francisco, according to the official, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss security matters publicly.
The working-level meeting, organized by the American Institute in Taiwan, discussed the possibility of Taiwanese companies incorporating a US government cybersecurity standard called NIST 800-171, the official said. The standard is meant to protect the confidentiality of data labeled as “controlled unclassified information,” according to NIST.
An official at NIST didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting after regular business hours. Taiwan’s Digital Ministry said in a statement that Chiueh met the NIST officials during a trip that included attending a security conference in San Francisco and meeting with representatives of major technology companies.
Since the US doesn’t have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Washington and Taipei use non-governmental organizations to serve as their liaisons instead of embassies or diplomatic missions.
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The US is stepping up security support for and cooperation with Taiwan as Chinese President Xi Jinping puts increased military pressure on the island that the ruling Communist Party claims as its own. Last year, Beijing sent some 1,700 Chinese warplanes into Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone and more than 660 ships in nearby waters.
Ensuring Taiwanese companies meet US defense supply chain standards would further strengthen security ties between the two governments. It could also anger Beijing, which has already accused President Joe Biden of changing the status quo on Washington’s decades-old Taiwan policy with claims the US would defend the island in the event of an invasion.
US defense contractors are generally required to comply with a range of key cybersecurity standards, which include the latest version of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, a program aimed at safeguarding sensitive information. Other regional strategic partners of the US, such as Japan and South Korea, have already pushed their defense companies to seek CMMC certification.
The Taiwanese delegation of almost 20 officials and researchers on information security and defense also discussed 5G communications and low Earth orbit satellites during the meeting with US officials.
Taiwan is preparing for the worst-case scenario of the destruction of its telecommunications and power lines, in the event of an invasion by Beijing, Digital Minister Audrey Tang said in an interview last month.
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