Germany Considering Ways to Exclude Huawei from 5G Auction

January 17, 2019 Updated: January 17, 2019

BERLIN—The German government is actively considering stricter security requirements and other ways to exclude China’s Huawei Technologies from a buildout of fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported.

Handelsblatt, citing government sources, said government officials were discussing setting security standards that Huawei could not achieve, effectively blocking its participation. Changes to the German telecommunications law were also under consideration as a last resort, the paper said.

The deliberations would mark a shift from the German government’s position in October, when it told lawmakers it saw no legal basis to exclude any vendors from an upcoming 5G auction following warnings from Washington.

The government told lawmakers in a more recent response that the security of 5G networks was “extremely relevant,” and would guide its upcoming decisions, Handelsblatt reported.

U.S. officials have briefed allies that Huawei is ultimately at the beck and call of the Chinese regime, while warning that its network equipment may contain “back doors” that could open them up to cyber espionage.

Germany’s Deutsche Telekom announced in December that it would review its vendor strategy and France’s Orange said it would not hire the Chinese firm to build its next-generation network in France.

The shift by the national market leaders, both partly state owned, followed Huawei’s exclusion on national security grounds by some U.S. allies, led by Australia, from building their fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks.

Handelsblatt quoted Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei as saying his company had never received a request from a government to transmit information in violation of any regulations.

Ren, a former army engineer and current Communist Party member, said his company “would not answer to” requests from the Chinese regime to hand over information, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Ren didn’t provide details about how the company would resist requests from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But under China’s national security laws, all companies operating in the country are required to grant authorities control of its data if asked. The concept of national security is expansively defined to cover threats to the CCP’s authoritarian control, including opinions critical of the Party.

“I love my country, I support the Communist Party ….” it quoted him as saying.

Tensions have been heightened by the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, who is Ren’s daughter and the chief financial officer of Huawei. Meng is facing extradition to the United States, where prosecutors allege that she violated U.S. sanctions against Iran by misleading banks about the company’s dealings in the Middle Eastern country.

By Andrea Shalal. Epoch Times staff Cathy He contributed to this report.

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