A company logo is displayed at a reception area at the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, China, on Wednesday. Dan Martin/ AFP
Telecommunications giant Huawei is “too close” to the Chinese government, making it difficult to trust the company at the heart of an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing, the US defence chief said on Saturday.
Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan’s comments came amid a wave of controversy over the Chinese firm, which has been hit by allegations of espionage and faces a US ban.
“The integration of civilian businesses with the military is too close. China has national policies and laws where data is required to be shared,” Shanahan told a defence and security conference in Singapore.
“When I look at that situation, it’s too much risk... You can’t trust those networks are going to be protected.”
The US Commerce Department last month placed Huawei on an “entity list” on grounds of national security, a move that curbs its access to US-made components it needs for its equipment. A 90-day reprieve was later issued.
A number of countries have also blocked Huawei from working on their mobile networks and companies have stepped back from the firm following the US ban, citing legal requirements.
Concerns about Huawei have escalated as the company has risen to become the world leader in telecom networking equipment and one of the top smartphone manufacturers alongside Samsung and Apple.
The US has long voiced suspicions that Huawei is controlled by the Chinese government and thus a global security threat -- charges strongly denied by the firm and Beijing.
Founder Ren Zhengfei is a former soldier in China’s People’s Liberation Army.
US FedEx Corp on Friday again apologised and blamed Washington’s ban on Huawei for being “unclear” as Beijing deepened an investigation into why the delivery firm was holding up packages meant for the telecoms equipment maker.
China on Saturday increased tariffs on billions worth of US goods as it prepares to unveil a blacklist of “unreliable” foreign companies that analysts say aims to punish US and foreign firms cutting off supplies to telecoms giant Huawei.
European stocks slipped on Monday as concerns about an escalating fallout from a US crackdown on China’s Huawei Technologies offset a slightly more positive tone on trade.
Global shares stumbled on Friday as hopes of a fiscal boost from a $1.9 trillion US stimulus plan were smothered by the prospect of stricter lockdowns in France and Germany and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China.
The Italian government has approved a new stimulus package worth 32 billion euros ($38.8 billion) to prop up the battered economy, pushing this year’s budget deficit significantly higher than previously planned.
Pakistan and Bangladesh are rationing gas and buyers across South Asia are seeking alternative fuels after spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices surged to record highs, government and industry officials told Reuters.