China says US bullying of Huawei, ZTE against market economy
Beijing strongly opposes
US’ of state power to suppress specific Chinese enterprises in the absence of
any evidence, a Chinese official said, adding that barring Chinese telecoms
companies Huawei and ZTE from a federal subsidy program to supply carriers in
rural areas would cause tremendous losses for US companies.
The Federal Communications Commission, the US telecoms regulator, plans to vote in November to designate Huawei and ZTE as national security risks, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The move would bar US rural carriers from tapping into an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase equipment or services from the two companies.
It has become part of Washington’s broader crackdown campaign against the companies, which are major suppliers of global wireless networks.
“Such bullying behavior in the economic domain denies the principle of market economy that the US side is always touting, and this will not be supported and recognized by the global community,” Geng Shuang, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a press briefing on Tuesday.
The Rural Wireless Association in the US earlier estimated that replacing Huawei and ZTE gear would cost between $800 million and $1 billion, as 25 percent of its members have already implemented products from these two companies in their networks, according to media reports. The ban could even lead to total cut-off of networks in some rural regions of the US.
“Some advocate banning Huawei and ZTE in US rural areas, which would eventually hurt the interests of US companies and consumers. How are they willing to take such a risk?” Geng asked.
The Trump administration has been suppressing the two Chinese companies for over a year by citing potential security risks. However, Huawei has repeatedly denied such accusations, claiming that it would welcome third-party network security evaluations.
The spokesperson noted that most countries still remember the Prism incident, when the US National Security Agency operated a massive surveillance program. Analysts have pointed out the contradictory nature of this operation and its accusations of Huawei using “backdoors” in its networks.
Geng also mentioned the US crackdown on France’s Alstom, whose former senior executive published The American Trap, accusing the US of using long-arm jurisdiction as a weapon to stifle competition. The US has yet to offer any clear explanation about the matter, Geng said.
“We urge the US side to stop generalizing the idea of national security, and to stop smearing China and suppressing specific Chinese companies with groundless accusations,” Geng said, adding that it should provide a fair, justified and nondiscriminatory environment for Chinese companies operating in the US.
“In 30 years of business, Huawei has never had a major security-related incident in the 170 countries we operate. Huawei is trusted by more than 2 billion consumers, partners with many Fortune 500 businesses, and supplies more than 500 network operators around the world,” read a statement the company sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.
Banning specific vendors based on their country of origin will do nothing to protect US’ telecommunications networks, it said, noting that the latest move of the FCC will further widen the digital divide, slowing the pace of economic development without further securing the US telecommunications networks.
ZTE had not made any comment about the FCC’s proposal as of press time on Tuesday.
Source: Global Times