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Huawei

Huawei’s treatment by foreign countries ‘unfair and immoral’, China’s foreign minister says

  • Boycott of Chinese telecom giant’s products has ‘obvious political intentions’, Wang Yi says
  • Comments come as Britain’s Vodafone becomes latest Western firm to suspend purchases
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 January, 2019, 4:20pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 January, 2019, 4:20pm

The use of state power to smear or discredit a legitimate business is “not only unfair but also immoral”, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Rome on Friday when asked to comment on the recent problems faced by Huawei Technologies.

“Considering the obvious political intentions and manipulation behind it, it is even more unacceptable,” he said, without naming the Chinese telecom equipment giant.

“I believe that all countries should be vigilant and resist this unreasonable practice, and such bullying,” he told reporters from China’s state media at the end of a three-day trip to France and Italy, according to an article on the ministry’s website.

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“Of course, every country is entitled to protect their right to maintain information security, but they cannot use security as an excuse to damage or even strangle legitimate business operations,” he said.

“Companies are just companies, and the survival and development of companies must ultimately be determined by market competition. What governments have to do is to provide them with a fair, just and transparent business environment.”

Wang’s comments came after Vodafone Group became the latest Western company to boycott Huawei products. The British telecom conglomerate said on Friday it had suspended its purchases of the Chinese firm’s equipment for the core of its wireless networks.

Last month, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe’s largest carrier and a major Huawei customer, said it was re-evaluating its purchasing strategy amid growing security concerns surrounding the firm, while British Telecom said it was removing Huawei’s equipment from its existing mobile operations and would not use it in key parts of the next generation 5G network.

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Huawei is the world’s largest telecom equipment supplier and has been the subject of intense international scrutiny since its chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on December 1, pending extradition to the United States.

The US has sought to persuade its allies, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand, not to use Huawei products in their fifth-generation wireless networks, on the grounds Beijing could use them for spying. The telecom giant has denied any such links to the Chinese government.

During his low-key European tour, Wang met French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday before attending a ceremony with his opposite number Jean-Yves Le Drian to mark the 55th anniversary of the two countries establishing diplomatic ties on Thursday.

Wang ended his trip on Friday with a meeting in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.