WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on May 23 the chief executive of China’s Huawei Technologies was lying about his company’s ties to the Chinese regime, and he believed more American companies would cut ties with the tech giant.
The United States placed Huawei on a trade blacklist last week, effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with the world’s largest telecom network gear maker.
“Every nation, every private company gets to make its over sovereign choices for the countries and private decisions for those entities. But as we share with them the risks, as we share with them the incapacity to mitigate those risks, which I think some thought could take place, as a technical matter, we don’t think there’s much mitigation opportunity, as we share that, we’re seeing them come to same understanding that the United States has come to,” Pompeo told CNBC in an interview.
Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese regime, military or intelligence services. Pompeo dismissed Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei’s assertions that his company would never share user secrets.
“That’s just false. To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement. 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,” Pompeo said.
Asked if he believed more companies would stop working with Huawei, Pompeo said: “We do. We’ve been working at the State Department to make sure that everyone understands the risks.”
Pompeo confirmed a New York Times report on Wednesday that China was using high-tech surveillance to set up an intrusive policing effort that could be used to subdue its minorities, including ethnic Muslim Uyghurs.
The United States accused China this month of putting significantly more than a million minority Muslims in “concentration camps,” strongly condemning Beijing for its mass detention of its Uyghur minority and other Muslim groups.
“These are not community colleges, these are authoritarian re-education institutions and we’ve seen what’s going on in the technology space,” Pompeo said.