- The US government has begun to rally its allies against Chinese tech giant Huawei, fearing its close ties to the Chinese government.
- Officials working for President Donald Trump’s administration have briefed key allies about the national security concerns posed by Huawei, which was founded by a former People’s Liberation Army major.
- The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration is also considering offering financial aid to countries that step up and block Huawei.
- The outreach over Huawei comes as the world shifts to adapt to the US’s new confrontational posture against China.
The US has begun what the Wall Street Journal calls “an extraordinary outreach program” in an effort to rally its allies against allowing the Chinese tech giant Huawei to gain access to essential infrastructure.
Officials from President Donald Trump’s administration have reportedly sought and briefed an array of partners and allies, from government counterparts to high-tech communications firms, following a crystallization of national security concerns over the intentions and capabilities of the Chinese telecommunications giant.
Huawei, founded by Ren Zhengfei a former officer in the People’s Liberation Army, is now the world’s No. 2 smartphone manufacturer after South Korea’s Samsung.
The Journal reported that so far, the US has briefed Germany, Italy, and Japan.
US officials also told the outlet that the administration is considering offering financial aid to countries that step up and block Huawei.
The US has slapped tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports, drawing swift retaliation from the Chinese government.
The US has also tightened up foreign-investment rules targeting Chinese deal making and its major allies are starting to come on board.
Europe this week stepped up its scrutiny of Foreign Direct Investment specifically out of China, after absorbing almost double the amount of Chinese money that was invested in the US over the last decade.
Americans have been told repeatedly to steer clear of Chinese-made Huawei and ZTE branded smartphones — intelligence officials and lawmakers share grave doubts over the opaque intentions of such firms and their cozy relationships with the Chinese government.
An obligation to the state
According to Danielle Cave of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), anyone who doubts the Chinese Communist Party’s grip on state firms and the essential unsuitability of Huawei to participate in communications infrastructure projects needs to get familiar with Article 7 of China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law (国家情报法).
The law states:
“All organizations and citizens shall, in accordance with the law, support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work, and guard the secrecy of national intelligence work they are aware of…”
“The state will protect individuals and organizations that support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work.”
According to Cave, even if a Chinese company had “the best of intentions,” the law makes it clear what their duty is whenever opportunity should arise.
“A company might have the best of intentions—work hard, foster a good reputation, make a profit—but this law undercuts those intentions by making it clear that Chinese organisations are expected to support, cooperate with and collaborate in national intelligence work,” Cave said. “They must also keep the intelligence work they’re aware of a secret.”
The US’s push, which was reportedly seeded before the current administration took over, reflects the fears of many analysts that Chinese firms operating in bad faith might embed themselves just as the next-gen wireless 5G network is rolled out worldwide.
Some US officials fear the rise of such centrally-organized technological giants could empower authoritarian governments, potentially turning irritants into outright foes, The Journal reported.