Monday, 30 November 2020 18:18

Germany, Japan and South Korea defy US over Huawei ban: report Featured

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Germany, Japan and South Korea defy US over Huawei ban: report Pixabay

Germany has rejected the US push to ban Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei technologies from its 5G rollout, with the Asia Times reporting on Monday that the company would be allowed to build part of the network.

Economist David P. Goldman reported that the German business daily Handelsblatt last week had cited a new draft law that Chancellor Angela Merkel would submit to the Bundestag next month as its source for this information.

The report also said that both Japan and South Korea had also refused to exclude Huawei from their networks in October.

Washington has campaigned for more than two years to try and push countries it considers allies to avoid using 5G equipment from Huawei in their networks. Thus far, only Australia and Vietnam have said openly that they would follow the US' lead.

Sweden recently became the third country to say so publicly, but a court later suspended sections of a decision that had excluded the company from participating in Swedish spectrum bids. The spectrum auction itself was put on hold.

New Zealand and Poland have indicated that they are likely to toe the US line, but have yet to make public pronouncements about what policy they would follow.

The UK first said in January that it would allow Huawei to bid for up to a third of equipment in non-core parts of the country's 5G networks but later changed its mind and said all Huawei gear would have to be removed by 2027.

A couple of days back, a report said that this timetable had also been changed and companies would be asked to strip out the Chinese vendor's gear by September 2021.

Goldman said the German decision had been expected after Democrat candidate Joe Biden won the US presidential election.

A report on 20 November said a group of academics and ex-officials who are close to the Biden camp had suggested that Huawei be given a role in the global build of 5G networks.

The Japanese decision was reported by the Yomiuri Shimbun in October, with the paper saying Tokyo would take its own steps to respond in the event that there were security issues.

And the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, also in October, that an official had told US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach during a meeting in Seoul that it was up to private companies to decide on what gear they used.

"We made it clear that whether a private telecom company uses the equipment of a specific enterprise is up to that company to decide," the official said.

"But regarding the general security risks posed by the 5G technology in the telecommunication market, we agreed to work closely with the US side and co-operate in terms of technological issues."

Goldman wrote: "German officials earlier this month [November] described the Huawei decision as a cliffhanger, as German industrial lobbyists wrangled with German security officials who were reluctant to incur the wrath of the American intelligence community. [US President Donald] Trump’s loss at the polls appears to have tipped the balance in favour of the industry lobby, which wants to work with China."

Huawei Australia has been contacted for comment.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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