The remarks come after Washington reportedly warned that it would share less intelligence information with German security agencies if the country’s wireless network uses China’s Huawei Technologies Co to upgrade to 5G.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has stated that excluding the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from participating in the construction of Germany’s 5G next-generation mobile network “would leave a mark on economic development” of his country.
Seehofer also praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel for reacting to Washington’s Huawei-related warnings with a “certain serenity”.
He referred to Merkel’s statement on Tuesday that Germany would define its own security standards for a new 5G mobile network.
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The remarks came after the Wall Street Journal reported that the US warned German wireless network against using China’s Huawei Technologies Co to upgrade to 5G.
Bloomberg, in turn, cited an unnamed representative of Germany’s BND intelligence service sa saying that Huawei is not a trustworthy partner to build Germany’s fifth-generation mobile networks, and that previous “security-relevant incidents” involving the company are part of the reason.
The spokesperson was echoed by a German Foreign Ministry official who said that it would be hard to interact with a company that cooperates with its national secret service.
“It’s above all a matter of trustworthiness and of the impact on our relationship with our allies”, the officials said.
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When asked if the government plans to shut Huawei out from the upcoming auction of fifth-generation mobile licences, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, for his part, said in early March that “we will not want to exclude any company”.
The statement followed moves by the US, New Zealand, and Australia to ban Huawei from developing their 5G networks due to alleged security threats.
The world’s biggest telecoms equipment supplier has repeatedly denied Washington’s accusations of stealing commercial information and spying on behalf of the Chinese government, insisting that it sees no reason why it should be restricted from building 5G infrastructure in any country.
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In December 2018, Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained in Canada’s Vancouver at the behest of the US, reportedly on suspicions that she’d conspired to violate US sanctions against Iran. The arrest was denounced by both Huawei and Beijing, with Chinese authorities demanding that Canada immediately release the Chinese national.
Meng was later released on bail but forced to remain in Vancouver awaiting extradition to the US. In early March, the Canadian government made the decision to go ahead with the extradition process.