Austria ‘Working With EU Partners’ On Huawei 5G Decision

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Country does not rule out deploying Chinese-made equipment in its 5G networks amidst heavy US lobbying of UK and other allies

Austria has said it is looking to find a balance between security and vendor independence as it deliberates over whether to allow China’s Huawei to supply equipment for the country’s 5G networks.

The remarks by Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz come amidst heavy lobbying by the US to bar Huawei from participating in its allies’ 5G networks, citing national security concerns.

“We want to be technology-neutral and at the same time guarantee maximum safety,” Kurz told a news conference in Vienna on Monday, Reuters reported.

He added that the country is in “close coordination” with other European countries and the European Commission over the matter.

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The UK is expected in the near future to deliver its long-delayed final decision on whether to allow Huawei 5G equipment, after the arrival of a high-level US envoy last week to carry out last-minute lobbying.

Australia and New Zealand have banned Chinese vendors from their 5G networks, while other US allies such as Germany and India have resisted pressure to lock out firms such as Huawei and ZTE.

The US alleges Chinese-made 5G equipment could be used by the Chinese government to collect communications intelligence, but has not provided evidence to support the claim.  Huawei denies its equipment could be used for spying.

China and the US are locked in a trade war, and the US has indicated in the past that it fears Chinese companies such as Huawei could gain a dominant influence  over 5G technology and standards.

Trade war

China’s technology minister, Miao Wei, said on Monday the country opposes “politicising” technical issues and wanted to promote international collaboration on 5G.

“In the internet era, no technology can be developed independently by a country behind closed doors, and no application can be used within a country,” Miao told a press conference in Beijing, local media reported.

“On the issue of security, we oppose politicising technical issues … and hope we can jointly study technology with other countries to maximise the gains and minimise the harms (of 5G).”

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