The Wall Street Journal has reported that the U.S. government has asked wireless and Internet providers in foreign ally countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from China's Huawei Technologies.
The U.S. is said to concerned about the use of Chinese telecom equipment in countries that host U.S. military bases, like Germany, Italy and Japan and American officials have briefed government counterparts and telecom executives in those countries about what they see as cybersecurity risks. The US is also said to be considering adding financial aid for telecommunications development in countries that will shun Huawei.
The US's current outreach initiative coincides with rising tensions between the US and China, although officials familiar with the matter told the WSJ that concerns about telecom-network vulnerabilities predate the Trump administration.
In late October, the head of one of Australia’s intelligence agencies said that Australia must restrict foreign firms with government ties from its 5G mobile communications network because it is critical infrastructure.
Australia expanded its national security rules in August to exclude telecommunication equipment suppliers that it believes have ties to foreign governments. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said after the policy announcement that it would be prohibited from Australia's new broadband network.
Mike Burgess, Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate said in October that: "5G technology will underpin the communications that Australians rely on every day, from our health systems and the potential applications of remote surgery, to self-driving cars and through to the operation of our power and water supply. A potential threat anywhere in the network will be a threat to the whole network."
Huawei has long been labeled a security risk by U.S. lawmakers because of alleged links to the Chinese government. The company was founded by former Chinese military engineer Ren Zhengfei who has been accused of developing technology in cooperation with the Chinese military. While the Shenzhen-based company has denied any inappropriate connections, it’s been banned in Australia from supplying fifth-generation wireless equipment, faced scrutiny in the U.K. and found itself largely shut out from the U.S. market.