The Chinese government has warned Canada not to ban Huawei regarding 5G hardware to build out the country’s future wireless networks.
According to Reuters, the Chinese ambassador—Lu Shaye—issued the warning through an interpreter at a news conference today:
“I believe there will be repercussions” if Huawei were to be banned, said Lu, who spoke through an interpreter. He urged Ottawa to make a “wise” decision.
Lu said when Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland – who has strongly criticized China’s actions – goes to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week she should not try to rally support.
Canada and China’s diplomatic relations have reached high tensions of late, after Huawei chief financial offer Meng Wanzhou—daughter of the company’s founder—was arrested in Vancouver last month, based on a U.S. extradition request. She was released on $10 million bail and currently remains in one of her two Vancouver homes, awaiting possible U.S. extradition.
In response, China has since detained two Canadians, while also sentencing a former convicted Canadian man from B.C. to death, after his original drug smuggling sentencing was deemed not harsh enough.
Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, spoke tough about China earlier this week, saying the “arbitrary detentions of Canadians … represent a way of behaving which is a threat to all countries,” according to The Canadian Press.
Responding to Freeland today, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, retorted “I think your foreign minister may be in a hurry, and can’t help speaking without thinking,” when asked by media what threat China was posing to Canada.
Huawei 5G equipment is being used by both Bell and Telus to trial the faster next-generation wireless technology. SaskTel has worked with Huawei since 2010; NDP opposition leader Ryan Meili has asked the Saskatchewan Premier to review the relationship.
Critics, such as the United States, argue Huawei equipment poses a threat to national security, with its ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Its founder, Red Wanzhou, was previously part of China’s People’s Liberation Army and Communist Party. The United States, along with Australia and New Zealand, have all banned Huawei networking equipment.
Canada’s inclusion of Huawei for 5G threatens U.S. national security, over fears of espionage, according to American intelligence officials.
While Canada has not banned Huawei, the government has undergone a security review for 5G technology. According to an unnamed source speaking with Reuters, “the study would not be released in the immediate future.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not called for a ban on Huawei, unlike his predecessor, Stephen Harper, who has cited the Chinese company as a long-term security concern.