'A real risk': U.S. warns allies against allowing Huawei in 5G networks
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV's Omar Sachedina
Published Thursday, February 21, 2019 10:23PM EST
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is warning that “there’s a real risk” if his country’s allies allow Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to participate in the development of their next-generation 5G mobile networks.
“If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won't be able to share information with them,” Pompeo said in a Thursday interview with the Fox Business Network. “We won’t be able to work alongside them.”
Washington’s hardline on Huawei could have major implications for Canada, which shares intelligence with the U.S. as part of the Five Eyes: an alliance that also includes Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.
Ottawa, however, has yet to make a decision about whether or not Huawei can participate in the development of Canada’s 5G network.
“There's no need to panic here,” Minister of Transport Marc Garneau told reporters on Thursday. “We're doing the thing that we need to do in order to come to our own decision in Canada.”
Participating in the development of Canada’s future 5G network would be incredibly lucrative for any company. For consumers, such a network would provide mobile internet that is exponentially faster than what is available today.
The U.S. has repeatedly claimed that Huawei technology could be used by the Chinese government to spy and is urging its allies to ban the company from the development of their 5G networks.
Australia already has. The U.K., however, believes that any security risks can be managed. Like Canada, New Zealand remains undecided.
Canadians themselves appear to be apprehensive.
A new poll by Nanos Research for CTV News reveals that 47 per cent of Canadians say a free trade deal with China should be delayed over controversies related to Huawei while 43 per cent say Ottawa should proceed with such talks.
“Canadians know that our relationship with the United States and our trade relationship with the United States is more important than China,” Nanos Research founder and chief data scientist Nik Nanos told CTV News. “At the same time, they know that the Chinese economy is a growing power globally.”
In a bid to boost its brand, Huawei’s chairman told reporters in Toronto Thursday that even if the company is banned from Canada’s 5G network, the company still won’t back away from subsidizing research and development at Canadian universities. He also promised to create 200 jobs in Canada by the end of the year.
“Huawei invests and subsidizes (research and development) programs in Canada, specifically within the 5G context,” cybersecurity expert Claudiu Popa told CTV News. “And they walk away with owning all of or part of the intellectual property that gets created as a result.”