BARCELONA – Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei vehemently denied United States accusations that its ambitions to roll out 5G services around the world presented a security threat, one of its senior officials said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday.
Washington’s spat with Beijing over Huawei’s aspirations, which was playing out to the backdrop of a wider bilateral trade dispute, is centered on allegations that the Chinese company would use the next generation communications technology, which will be used to connect everything from self-driving cars to manufacturing, as a way to gather backdoor information on other countries.
“Huawei is leading in 5G globally, but we understand, innovation is nothing without security,” Guo Ping, Huawei’s rotating chairman, told those attending the 2019 edition of the mobile world’s most influential congress.
“Let me say this as clear as possible, Huawei has not and will never plant backdoors. And we will never allow anyone to do to so with our equipment,” he said. “The US security accusation on our 5G has no evidence, nothing.”
The US has increasingly called on its allies to avoid deals with the Chinese smartphone maker over accusations Beijing used the tech giant as a way to spy on foreign nations.
In Jan., Huawei fired sales director Wang Weijing after he was arrested in Poland on suspicion of espionage.
Meanwhile, in December 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder, Meng Wanzhou, at Vancouver International Airport at the request of the US, which filed for her extradition for alleged fraud and for breaching sanctions on Iran.
China shortly afterward sentenced a Canadian citizen to death for drug charges in what was an escalation in diplomatic tensions widely seen as retaliatory by observers.
Huawei was looking to ship its 5G technology around the world and had already signed 18 contracts in Europe.
“I fully understand what President Donald Trump said last week,” Guo said. “The US needs powerful, faster and smarter 5G.”
Washington and China were currently engaged in a tense series of bilateral trade talks aimed at staving off a trade war.
Trump recently said he expected to sign a trade deal “fairly soon.”
He added that he planned to postpone his plans to hike import tariffs on Chinese goods worth around $200 billion, which were set to kick in March.
He announced he was penciled to meet Chinese president, Xi Jinping, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
China had earlier pledge to buy $1.2 of American products.