The story in question was based on anonymous sources, who claimed that if the European Union decided to follow the UK’s lead in banning Huawei kit from its members’ 5G networks, China might just have to impose export bans on Ericsson and Nokia to teach it a lesson. For some reason, China is finding it easy to believe that anything published by the US press must have political undertones.
“This piece of information is made up with ulterior motives, it is maliciously fabricated news aimed at undermining good and cooperative relations between China and EU,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, is quoted as saying by the state-approved Global Times. Apparently, Wang also moaned about other media covering the WSJ story – uh oh.
Apparently keen to show the WSJ that two can play at the anonymous sources game, the Global Times quoted an unnamed former Ericsson exec as saying “[The Wall Street Journal] wants to destroy China-EU friendly relations.” Meanwhile Wang has also been spouting the standard vengeful bluster in response to the UK continuing to push back on China’s civil rights abuses in Hong Kong.
The fact that China felt compelled to refute the WSJ report would appear to indicate it’s worried about running out of trading partners in the West. Wrathful hot air of the kind mentioned above has become so commonplace as to be almost meaningless. China needs to come up with a better diplomatic strategy than ‘do what we want, or else’ if it wants to save any of its massive export market.