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Washington's war on Huawei a commercial and geopolitical ploy

By Chen Weihua | China Daily | Updated: 2019-02-01 07:41
View of a Huawei store in Huaibei city, East China's Anhui province, April 28, 2018. [Photo/IC]

The indictment of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies on 13 charges by the US Justice Department on Jan 28 is nothing but the latest US premeditated move to foil China's rise in the field of high-tech.

Huawei's extraordinary success in the global telecom market, especially in developing the critical 5G technology, has prompted the US administration to take its gloves off and resort to despicable actions. They include the detention of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on Dec 1 by Canada at the behest of the United States for alleged violations of sanctions against Iran.

Jeffrey Sachs, an economist at Columbia University, described the detention as "really part of the Trump administration's broader attempt to undermine China's economy by imposing tariffs, closing Western markets to Chinese high-technology exports, and blocking Chinese purchases of US and European technology companies".

Frederick Kempe, president of Atlantic Council, wrote in December that the US government's targeting of Huawei was a sign of the "accelerating tech arms race" between the US and China.

In a leaked memo, a US National Security Council official wrote about the dangers posed by Huawei's rise to become the world's most significant supplier of 5G gear. "We are losing," the memo said, noting that whoever leads in this race "will have a tremendous advantage toward... commanding the heights of the information domain."

The US first targeted Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese company, at least five years ago when a House of Representatives Intelligence Committee report called them a national security threat, without providing any evidence. And US telecom companies AT&T and Verizon both dropped Huawei products early last year under government pressure.

However, the so-called national security concerns are merely hypothetical, with words such as Huawei "could" or "may" be used by the Chinese government to spy on other countries.

To use the same logic, people should feel a deep existential threat from the US because it possesses nuclear weapons which can destroy the planet and kill every human-being 100 times.

The US government has employed similar tactics against its allies, too. In a Jan 17 article, the Economist revealed how the US Department of Justice has subjected scores of large foreign companies to extraterritorial actions, often resulting in helping US companies. It cited the example of Alstom, a French power and transport group, which faced US legal action in 2010-15 and later sold the bulk of its assets to General Electric in a deal that was announced in 2014 and closed in late 2015.

But the US actions against China are far more sinister, as reflected in the speech by US Vice-President Mike Pence at the Hudson Institute on Oct 4, when he tried to defame China for each and every action it has taken.

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, who knows well about China and the US, warned in a talk last September that "we seem to be walking into another war" and "beginning with a trade war, developing into an investment war, before metastasizing into a new 'technology war' as China and the United States now struggle to secure the commanding heights of the new technologies that will either drive, or destroy, the economies of the 21st century."

Sachs called the US administration, not Huawei or China, as today's greatest threat to the international rule of law, and therefore to global peace.
Given these facts, European countries should firmly resist the mounting US pressure to ban Huawei in their countries, as reported by The New York Times on Sunday, because the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown us the bloody results of bowing to US pressure.

The Huawei case is indeed a matter of free trade, and a better and fairer world order.

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

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