SINGAPORE (April 1): In ancient times, there were calls to turn ploughshares into swords. Its an early example of dual-use technology, where technology could be used for both peaceful and military purposes. The tradition continued during the Battle of Britain when households were encouraged to turn in their aluminium saucepans so that they could be turned into Spitfire aeroplanes.

In modern times, the concept of dual-use technology has again become important. Chinese investment in Italian ports is held up as an example of dual-purpose activity on the grounds that they could be converted into military ports for the Chinese navy. The lease of the port of Darwin in North Australia by a private Chinese company was subject to the same criticism despite the commercial port being more than 8km away from a small capacity naval port facility.

So where do we draw the line? The US has led a push to ban Huawei Technologies from work in many areas. New Zealand and Australia have been enthusiastic supporters of the generic claim that 5G is dual-use technology that can be used for civilian and military purposes. Europe and the UK are less convinced.

To continue reading,

Sign in to access this Premium article.

Subscription entitlements:

Less than $9 per month
3 Simultaneous logins across all devices
Unlimited access to latest and premium articles
Bonus unlimited access to online articles and virtual newspaper on The Edge Malaysia (single login)

Stay updated with Singapore corporate news stories for FREE

Follow our Telegram | Facebook