Tuesday, 19 February 2019

US threatens Europe as it opens up a new front in its trade-war with China

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Monday 11 February 19

The US has repeatedly warned that Chinese mobile network infrastructure is less secure than its European or US counterparts. It is yet to offer any evidence to support this assertion

The US' trade ambassador to the EU has warned European governments that they could find themselves the victim of US sanctions, if they continue to do business with Chinese telecoms equipment vendors in the run up to 5G rollout across the continent. Speaking to EU representatives in Brussels, Ambassador Sondland said that he could see "…

The US' trade ambassador to the EU has warned European governments that they could find themselves the victim of US sanctions, if they continue to do business with Chinese telecoms equipment vendors in the run up to 5G rollout across the continent.

Speaking to EU representatives in Brussels, Ambassador Sondland said that he could see "no compelling reason" for EU nations "to do business with the Chinese", in an alarming speech to the European Commission.

"There are no compelling reasons that I can see to do business with the Chinese, so long as they have the structure in place to reach in and manipulate or spy on their customers," said Ambassador Sondland.

Sondland then delivered a thinly veiled threat to the US' supposed allies in Europe, warning that anyone who persisted in doing business with Chinese network equipment providers could find themselves the subject of US sanctions.  

"Those who are charging ahead blindly and embracing the Chinese technology without regard to these concerns may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us," he said.

Sondland's comments run contrary to those of a growing number of industry experts and senior business officials who have warned that excluding Huawei from Europe's 5G rollout would cause catastrophic problems for European telcos and consumers alike. In recent weeks, the CEO's of Vodafone, Turkcell and Deutsche Telekom have all spoken out to ask EU governments to allow Huawei to continue its involvement in the European telecommunications sector.

While Huawei is banned from taking part in the US' 5G rollout, it has already won over 30 contracts in Europe and Asia to deploy 5G network infrastructure. In Western Europe, Huawei holds a 30 per cent market share in the continent's existing 3G and 4G mobile network architecture. In the UK, for example, Huawei has been a mainstay of the mobile communications sector for over 15 years.  

Despite the US' persistent warnings that Huawei's network equipment poses a security risk to national security, it is yet to provide a single shred of evidence to support this allegation.

Huawei has repeatedly said that it would be willing to open its 5G research and development laboratories up to international adjudicators in order to allay any concerns over the security of its networks. The US government has yet to avail itself of this invitation.

Also in the news

Huawei launches 5G test bed in Thailand

Huawei underlines its 5G credentials with launch of 6.5Gbps chipset

Huawei founder: We admire Apple's stance on data security 

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