Washington | The Trump administration is opposing Huawei as it fears the State-controlled telecom giant will pass on information to the Chinese government of which it is an “instrument” and deeply connected with, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.
Escalating the bruising trade war with China, the US Department of Commerce recently blacklisted Huawei over security concerns and barred American companies from installing its telecom equipment.
Earlier in the week, US President Donald Trump said there was a possibility of including the Huawei issue in the ongoing trade negotiations with China.
“Huawei is an instrument of the Chinese Government. They are deeply connected,” Pompeo told Fox Business News in an interview on Wednesday.
Responding to a question on the US efforts to oppose Huawei globally, Pompeo said it was something that was hard for Americans to understand.
The US companies cooperate with the government, they comply with its laws, but no president directs an American private company, that is very different in China, he noted.
“They just simply operate under a different set of rules. That’s the most fundamental thing I think people need to try and get their head around.
“If it’s the case that the Chinese Communist Party wanted to get information from technology that was in the possession of Huawei, it is almost certainly the case that Huawei would provide that to them,” Pompeo said.
He said a “deep connectivity” exists inside the way China’s political economy operates which is very different from the US.
“That’s the threat that President Trump sees from Huawei,” he said, asserting that the US is telling the same to other countries.
“They are becoming educated as well. They are learning. It’s not a critique; we were slow to see it as well. It’s important that we continue to share information. There’ll be places where they have better information than we do, and we ought to share the information about those risks,” he said.
“We are interdependent in terms of our communications systems with them. We have Western-based, rules-ordered, privacy-focused systems that we jointly engage in. That’s what technology needs to look like in the next 10, 20, 30 years as well. We need Western values embedded in these systems,” Pompeo said.
It would be an important topic of discussion when Pompeo travels to Europe later this week.
“The Secretary is going to reiterate that the security of our allies’ telecoms networks has a direct bearing on our mutual national security, something we’re concerned about not only for American national security but for our allies and partners,” a senior State Department official told reporters during a conference call.
“I think we’ve made clear that if the risk of sharing information exceeds the threshold for the United States, we may be forced to limit information sharing, and that’s what we continue to discuss and highlight for our allies, including Germany, about vulnerabilities there,” the official said.
“This may be something that comes up as well with the Swiss, not only with the government but also with business people as well, who have insights or questions on that,” the official said.
Huawei has filed a lawsuit against the US government challenging the decision of the Trump administration to limits on purchases of its equipment.