The United States will reconsider its intelligence-sharing arrangement with Canada if controversial Chinese telecom giant Huawei is given the green light to take part in building Canada’s 5G networks, a State Department spokesperson said today.
According to a new report from the CBC, Ottawa is still debating whether Huawei will be allowed to participate in building Canada’s next-generation wireless networks.
“We in the U.S. government have made it very clear to all of our friends and allies around the world that if Huawei is allowed into a country’s national security systems, we will have to protect our intelligence-sharing relationship,” Morgan Ortagus, a spokesperson for the US State Department, told CBC News.
“We’ll have to make an assessment if we can continue sharing intelligence with countries who have Huawei inside their most sensitive technology, in their most sensitive national security areas.
“We think that the Canadian government will make their own sovereign decisions and what’s best for Canada’s national security.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t specify when his administration would make a final decision regarding Huawei and 5G, or whether he’s willing to harm the intelligence relationship with the US by allowing the Chinese company to participate in Canada’s 5G network development.
“Every step of the way, we have listened to our security agencies, our intelligence agencies, worked with our allies,” Trudeau said in response to a reporter’s question today. “We will make the right decision for Canadians to both keep Canadians and businesses safe while at the same time ensuring competitiveness in our telecom industry.”
Despite Ottawa’s indecision, several private companies, including Bell and Telus, have announced that they would not be working with Huawei as they develop their 5G plans. The aforementioned companies are instead using equipment from Ericsson and Nokia.
Huawei’s VP for corporate affairs in Canada said the US “threats” are consistent with “the Trump administration’s preference for bullying and coercing rivals and allies alike. ”
“Huawei has operated in Canada for more than a decade without a single security incident related to our equipment. Not one,” said Alykhan Velshi. “We look forward to the Government of Canada making an evidence-based decision on Huawei’s role in Canada’s 5G rollout.
“This decision should be made by, in, and for Canada, not Donald Trump’s Washington.”