The United States is again calling on European allies to be careful of what it says are security risks posed by Chinese telecommunication company Huawei, as countries build out their 5G networks.
“We’ve been clear: our ask is that our allies and our partners and our friends don’t do anything that would endanger our shared security interests or restrict our ability to share sensitive information,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday after meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok in The Hague.
The top U.S. diplomat’s remarks come amid the Dutch intelligence agency’s investigation over alleged hidden backdoors in the software that could have given Huawei unauthorized access to users’ data.
Huawei’s CEO Ren Zhengfei has maintained his company would not share confidential user information and Huawei denies it is controlled by Beijing. The company also says it does not work with the Chinese government, an assertion Pompeo and other U.S. officials have rejected.
Blok said while his government wants to align policies with allies, the Dutch will make its own security decisions as it prepares to auction off new 5G internet rights.
“There is a specialist committee working now to decide on what criteria to add to the 5G option and somewhere this summer those criteria will be published,” said the Dutch foreign minister.
Pompeo and Blok met on the sidelines of a three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by the U.S. and the Netherlands in The Hague.
This preeminent annual gathering convenes entrepreneurs, investors, and their supporters from more than 120 countries.
Eyeing China, Pompeo said the United States is seeking terms for fair trade practices.
“Authoritarian states can steal ideas and prop up their own business enterprises, but they’ll never match the entrepreneurship and innovation found in free societies,” said Pompeo, stressing the importance of intellectual property rights protection, the rule of law, as well as a predictable and consistent legal system.
Friday, Pompeo warned German authorities that the U.S. could withhold national security information if Germany adopts 5G networks run by Huawei because “it is not possible to mitigate” the security risks.
The White House has effectively blacklisted Huawei, making it harder to continue doing business with American companies.
In response, China says it plans to target organizations or individuals that deemed to damage Chinese companies’ interests in a so-called “unreliable foreigners list.”