Huawei challenges U.S. to show security risk evidence

Huawei challenges show security risk evidence

DONGGUAN (AP): The chairman of Huawei challenged the United States and other governments to provide evidence for claims the Chinese tech giant is a security risk as the company launched a public relations effort to defuse fears that threaten its role in next-generation communications.

Talking to reporters who were invited to Huawei Technologies Ltd.’s headquarters, Ken Hu complained accusations against the biggest global maker of network gear stem from “ideology and geopolitics.” He warned excluding Huawei from fifth-generation networks in Australia and other markets would hurt consumers by raising prices and slowing innovation.

Australia and New Zealand have barred Huawei in 5G networks on security grounds. They joined the United States and Taiwan, which have broader curbs on Huawei. Japan’s cybersecurity agency says suppliers including Huawei that are deemed high-risk will be excluded from government purchases.

The latest curbs have had little impact on Huawei, which is the biggest global maker of network gear and a leader in 5G development. But the normally press-shy company’s decision to hold Tuesday’s event appeared to reflect concern that if restrictions spread, they might hurt Huawei’s access to a 5G market industry analysts say could be worth $20 billion a year by 2022.

Hu, who appears at industry events but rarely gives interviews, talked for two hours and 20 minutes with American, European and Asian reporters.

“If you have proof or evidence, it should be made known,” said Hu. “Maybe not to Huawei and maybe not to the public, but to telecom operators, because they are the ones that buy Huawei.”

Huawei, founded in 1987 by a former military engineer, rejects accusations it is controlled by the ruling Communist Party or designs equipment to facilitate eavesdropping. But foreign officials cite a Chinese law that requires companies to cooperate with intelligence agencies and express concern that telecom equipment suppliers might be required to modify products.

The emergence of 5G has heightened those fears. The technology is meant to support a vast expansion of telecoms networks to connect self-driving cars, factory robots, medical devices and power plants. That has prompted governments increasingly to view telecoms networks as strategic national assets.

“There has never been any evidence that our equipment poses a security threat,” said Hu. He added later, “We have never accepted requests from any government to damage the networks or business of any of our customers.”

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