Huawei in the Spotlight: UK Warns Firm Colludes with Beijing as Belgian Providers Switch to Nokia

Written by | Monday, October 12th, 2020

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei colludes with ‘Communist Party apparatus’, meaning the Chinese state, the British Parliament’s Defence Committee says, adding the United Kingdom may need to remove all of the firm’s equipment earlier than planned. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July ordered Huawei equipment to be removed from the country’s nascent 5G network by the end of 2027. “The West must urgently unite to advance a counterweight to China’s tech dominance,” Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Defence Committee, said. “We must not surrender our national security for the sake of short-term technological development.” The committee said it had seen clear evidence of Huawei collusion with “the Chinese Communist Party apparatus”, but fell short of going into detail about the exact nature of the ties.
“It is built on opinion rather than fact. We’re sure people will see through these groundless accusations of collusion and remember instead what Huawei has delivered for Britain over the past 20 years,” a Huawei spokesman responded to these accusations. US President Donald Trump, who identifies China as his country’s main geopolitical rival, has accused the Communist Party-ruled state of taking advantage over trade and not telling the truth over the novel coronavirus outbreak, which he calls the “China plague”. The US and its allies have repeatedly warned Huawei technology could be used to spy for Beijing. Huawei has repeatedly denied this and says the US is simply jealous of its success.
Meanwhile, across the Channel, in Belgium and Luxembourg, telecoms operators Orange Belgium and Proximus have reportedly decided to progressively replace Huawei-made mobile equipment with Nokia gear. According to the sources informed on the matter, both operators, which share their mobile network, had faced political pressure to drop the Chinese giant as a supplier following US accusations that Huawei’s gear could be used for spying by Beijing. All the companies involved – Orange, Proximus, Nokia and Huawei – either declined to comment or did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Thursday (8 October). This represents one of the first cases in Europe where commercial operators have dropped Huawei from their next generation mobile Internet, or 5G, networks in response to political pressure. Other European countries, including Germany and France, are also moving towards greater restrictions on Huawei.

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