Talk is cheap. It's time for the US to stop groundless accusations and provide concrete evidence to prove how China's Huawei Technologies is a security threat.
Huawei has become a hyped topic lately at global conferences and in politicians' speeches. During the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC) held in Germany from Friday to Sunday, not surprisingly, questions concerning the Chinese technology giant were raised repeatedly. No matter how many times Chinese officials and senior executives from Huawei have denied the accusations that the privately held firm poses security risks to telecom networks and spies for the Chinese government, some politicians, like US Vice President Mike Pence, simply reject this without any ground.
Pence repeated the same accusations at the MSC, saying that Chinese law requires Chinese telecom equipment suppliers to provide the country's security apparatus with access to any data that touches their networks or equipment. That's his argument about how Huawei could serve as a security threat.
At the same event, Yang Jiechi, a senior Chinese official, rebutted this rhetoric. He reiterated that Chinese laws do not require companies to install a backdoor or collect intelligence.
What Pence said is try to lobby European countries to follow suit by barring Huawei from their 5G network development, which is another step in the US-led geopolitical campaign against China's technological rise. US officials have become much more active recently in asking Europe to join the anti-Huawei game. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo did the same thing earlier in Hungary.
But in all of their comments, there has been no single shred of concrete evidence provided.
If US authorities insist that the Chinese company is a threat, it is time to show evidence to other countries that there are loopholes in Huawei's equipment and products, rather than turning 5G into the subject of political or ideological discussions.
Every telecom network supplier has to make efforts to ensure network security. And it's very natural that authorities have concerns over the network security.
In the UK, Huawei has responded actively to local government's concerns on this matter. As mentioned by Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu Zhijun in a recent interview, Huawei has worked together with the UK government in putting in place the HCSEC, known as the Cyber Security Evaluation Center, to embark on partnerships to address the concerns of the UK government that there might be backdoors in Huawei's products.
Also, Robert Hannigan, former director of the UK intelligence agency GCHQ, said in a recent op-ed article that there has been no evidence showing malicious Chinese state-sponsored cyber activity through Huawei's technology.
Xu said in the interview that when the company worked with the UK government, Huawei delivered its source code to the HCSEC, which was then checked by British nationals with the UK's highest level of clearance DV, who later found no backdoors in the products.
Later this month, major European carriers, governments and industry representatives will gather in Barcelona, Spain for the MWC19, the most important industry event. For sure, 5G will be a major topic during this gathering.
The GSMA recently called on policymakers not to lose focus on policy objectives, and secure networks should be achieved through a fact-based and risk-based approach.
It emphasized that mobile operators, as well as some government security agencies, have meticulously tested mobile network infrastructure for years and have not discovered any evidence of wrongdoing.
An attendee to the MSC said that Huawei has always been a hyped topic at the event, even though some people do not really understand what the company does. This reminded me of a recent French TV debate on whether French carriers should ban the company from the nation's 5G network. The host of this program, who could not pronounce the name of the Chinese company correctly, is unlikely to lead the debate in unbiased way.
Europe should better understand Huawei through facts and not let this well-coordinated geopolitical campaign hinder its catch-up in the next generation of mobile technology.