US Urges Allies To Utilise Western Tech Instead Of Huawei

The United States continues to ratchet up the pressure on Huawei Technologies and has again urged other nations to use Western equipment instead of kit from the Chinese networking giant.

The US envoy to the European Union reportedly said on Thursday that the US wants to steer people away from Huawei towards Western products because of concerns that Beijing could use Huawei’s technology for spying, an allegation that Huawei has consistently denied.

The call comes amid an escalating trade war between the US and China, and a raft of criminal charges the US launched against Huawei earlier this week.

Security concerns

The US envoy to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, has now added to the pressure when Reuters reported him as saying that there was classified evidence on security breaches by the Chinese firm.

“The US is very supportive of the discouraging the purchase of any Chinese digital products that involve potential national security implications and steering people away from Huawei into Western products is our desired outcome,” Sondland told Reuters.

When the envoy was asked about security issues with Huawei’s products, Sondland reportedly said: “There is a lot of evidence, most of it classified.”

A Huawei spokesman meanwhile told Reuters that the firm has a proven reputation on cyber security and does not buy all of its materials from China.

“Only one third of materials used to make Huawei products are sourced in China,” the spokesman reportedly said via email. “The rest are from other parts of the world. In today’s globalised world, all major ICT companies have global supply chains. Huawei has a clean track record on cyber security.”

Huawei bans

Poland has become the latest country to ban Huawei equipment from its 5G network following the arrest earlier this month of an alleged spy who had been employed by the Chinese company.

The US government has already asked its allies not to use equipment from Huawei, and a large number of nations have signalled their intention to ban the Chinese kit.

New Zealand for example has banned the use of Huawei kit. It should be remembered that New Zealand is part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing network that consists of the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Senior officials in Germany have also recently urged the German government to ban the use of Chinese equipment, like that from Huawei, in their 5G networks.

Australia has already banned the use Huawei technology altogether.

The British government in November had written to telcos, warning them against using equipment makers such as Huawei when rolling out 5G networks, because of an ongoing security review of those Chinese firms.

This UK government review into telecoms security will reportedly be completed in March,

BT meanwhile has pledged to remove Huawei equipment from the next-generation emergency services communication network it is developing for the government

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Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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