With the advancement of 5G technology, China is getting closer to dominating the telecommunications market, mainly through its global supplier, the multinational Huawei, which has been pointed out on several occasions as being complicit with the Chinese communist regime.
In the eagerness to implement a global network that allows much faster use of the Internet, the influence and reach that 5G technology is achieving has become an issue of increasing concern to the United States, which has labeled the presence of Huawei as a threat to national security.
“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in relation to the Chinese multinational, then added, “He is required by Chinese law to do that. (…) The Huawei CEO on that at least isn’t telling the American people the truth, nor the world.”
The company has also been accused of very serious human rights abuses for its role as technical supplier to the Xinjiang public security office, which has been in charge of repressing the Uighur Muslim minorities.
In that sense, the efforts of the United States to warn its allies about the risks involved in establishing a formal contract with the Chinese company have been constant, and a clear example of this has been the warnings to the United Kingdom by Boris Johnson to refrain from implementing the mobile network service in that country because of the threats of espionage involved.
Despite the fact that the United Kingdom chose to include part of the 5G system in the country by installing networks, the United States still continues with its intention to warn about the risks of making deals with Huawei.
According to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper are planning to speak at the Munich Security Conference this weekend, a diplomatic meeting of high importance to the European continent where China is expected to be one of the topics to be discussed.
The Cabinet members hope to deliver a “clear” and “carefully controlled” message to the European audience so that they are aware of the risks involved in building 5G telecommunication networks.
“A large bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation, cognizant that the Trump team’s relations with some European partners are strained, is planning to drive home the message that China is using 5G technology to expand its influence and enable its espionage and economic aggression, which isn’t in U.S. or European interests,” Rogin said in his opinion column.
Delegation leader Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said that the implementation of the 5G network was an important decision that America’s allies would make regarding their future relationship.
“This is not just the Trump administration feeling this way; this is a broad bipartisan coalition telling our friends if your goal is to embrace Chinese 5G to avoid being left behind, you are making a serious miscalculation,” Graham said.
According to Rogin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel published a report this week in which she emphasized that the German government should guarantee that the companies involved in the construction of the 5G network in the country would be free of foreign interference, although she did not openly address a ban on Huawei.
According to a survey conducted last December by the Pew Research Center, Europeans are more likely to welcome Chinese investment and see the country’s economy as a global powerhouse.
According to Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a member of the delegation, “if we want to inspire Europeans to stand with us, we can’t just make it about great-power competition, we have to appeal to common transatlantic values and norms.”
As Rogin pointed out, the problem is that European countries do not have a better alternative to Huawei’s subsidized offers.
Meanwhile, this year’s Munich Security Conference will have as its main theme the concept of ‘Westlessness,’ which means that the world is moving away from Western values of liberalism, democracy, freedom, transparency, accountability, rule of law, and universal human rights.
Rogin ended his column by stating that in order to promote cooperation and establish shared interests, both the United States and Europe must preserve those values, stressing that in the face of China’s advance, the West must join in a unified path before it is too late.