US, China harden stance on Huawei as tech war intensifies

Thursday, May 23, 2019

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Washington, United States (AFP) — The United States and China hardened their stances over Huawei today as Washington brushed aside claims of "bullying" and accused the Chinese tech giant of misrepresenting its ties to the Beijing government.

The world's top two economies stepped up their rhetoric following President Donald Trump's decision to blacklist the smartphone and telecom firm over worries that Beijing uses it as a tool for espionage.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in an interview that Huawei is not truthful about its relationship with China's government and that this means any data touched by the company is "at risk" of falling into the wrong hands.

"To say that they don't work with the Chinese government is a false statement," Pompeo said of Huawei.

The company "is deeply tied not only to China but to the Chinese communist party," the top US diplomat told CNBC, disputing Huawei's claims that it has no direct relationship with Beijing.

"The Huawei CEO — on that, at least — isn't telling the American people the truth."

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that Beijing was ready to "fight to the very end" in its trade war with Washington.

"The US use of state power to arbitrarily exert pressure on a private Chinese company like Huawei is typical economic bullying," Wang said.

China's commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Beijing has lodged "solemn representations" with Washington and warned that the country has the "confidence and ability to protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies".

Companies around the world are scrambling to comply with the US blacklist, which would prevent them from supplying American technology components or software to Huawei.

Japan's Panasonic was the latest to announce it would "suspend transactions with Huawei and its 68 affiliates that were banned by the US government," saying the move was conveyed in an "internal notification".

But when asked for a response, Huawei pointed to a statement on Panasonic's Chinese website that said the firm was supplying Huawei "normally".

Japanese firm Toshiba said later Thursday it had resumed shipment of all products to Huawei hours after announcing a temporary halt to check whether US-made parts were involved.

Major Japanese and British mobile carriers said this week they would delay releasing new Huawei handsets as a result of the US sanctions.


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