Monday, 24 January 2022

New Zealand blocks Huawei, in blow to Chinese telecom giant

China Stringer Network / Reuters

NEW YORK TIMES: New Zealand has blocked Huawei from supplying technology for a next-generation mobile data network in the country, joining the United States and other developed countries that see the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker as a security threat.

New Zealand’s intelligence agency rejected a proposal from Spark, one of New Zealand’s biggest telecom carriers, to use Huawei gear in its planned fifth-generation, or 5G, mobile network. Huawei’s involvement would raise “significant national security risks,” Spark said Wednesday, citing a government statement.

The move follows a similar decision by Australia in August to ban Huawei from taking part in its 5G infrastructure rollout, as well as mounting warnings from the United States that the company’s ties to the Chinese government make its products vulnerable to snooping or interference — an accusation Huawei strongly denies.

“The U.S. advocates for secure telecoms networks and supply chains that are free from suppliers subject to foreign government control or undue influence,” the United States Embassy in Australia said in a statement on Wednesday.

It added, “we routinely urge allies and friends to consider such risks and exercise similar vigilance in ensuring the security of their own telecoms networks and supply chains.”

Huawei said it was looking into the matter. “As the GCSB has noted, this is an ongoing process,” the company said in a statement, referring to the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand. “We will actively address any concerns and work together to find a way forward.”

Huawei says that it is a private company and is not controlled by Beijing.

New Zealand’s rejection further solidifies a wall that is increasingly dividing the world into two. There are places that will accept Chinese technology in sensitive areas like telecommunications, and places that won’t. The United States government has long deemed Huawei and another Chinese hardware maker, ZTE, to be potential menaces to security and privacy. And American lawmakers have voiced concerns about the two companies’ business in other wealthy countries such as South Korea.

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