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US Pushes Canada on Huawei 5G Ban

Senators say use of Chinese 5G equipment north of the border could damage cooperation and intelligence-sharing.

Not content with blocking Huawei from 5G network rollouts at home, the U.S. is now pushing Canada to follow suit, again citing national security concerns.

Two U.S. senators have contacted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to step in and ban the Chinese equipment giant from supplying equipment for the next generation of mobile network, it emerged late last week.

“As you are aware, Huawei is not a normal private-sector company,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democrat Senator Mark Warner, both members of the U.S. Senate select intelligence committee, wrote in a letter to Trudeau, shared by the Globe and Mail on Friday.

“There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party − and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a ‘national champion,’ is no exception,” the senators said.

They shared “grave concerns” over the possibility of Huawei or any other Chinese state-owned company being involved in the rollout of 5G infrastructure.

Any Huawei presence in Canada could harm cooperation with the U.S. on telecoms matters, including spectrum harmonisation, and could affect intelligence-sharing between the members of Five Eyes, a five-nation intelligence alliance, whose membership also includes the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

Earlier this year, the Australian government banned Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese state firms from providing 5G technology there, while the row over the Chinese presence in the U.S. has been raging for the vendor has been arguing against a U.S. ban for some time.

There has been no official response from Trudeau. However, the Globe and Mail noted that in August the PM declined to confirm or deny whether a ban on Huawei is in the offing, explaining that the government would make a decision based on facts, evidence and the country’s best interests.

Since then, a leading Canadian cybersecurity official has indicated that a ban on Huawei would be unnecessary.

Scott Jones, the new head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, last month said he is confident Canada has the right safeguards in place to deal with any risk, including strong equipment testing facilities, according to a separate report from the Globe and Mail.

“We have a very advanced relationship with our telecommunications providers, something that is different from most other countries, to be honest, from what I have seen,” Jones told the committee on public safety and national security, the paper said. – Total Telecom

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