The US government is reportedly lobbying its international allies to pressure their telecoms companies not to do business with Huawei.
According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, the US government has initiated an “extraordinary outreach campaign” to foreign allies, trying to persuade wireless and internet providers in these countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from Chinese company Huawei.
US officials have contacted representatives in nations including Germany, Italy, and Japan to warn them of potential cybersecurity risks if they partner with Huawei. Some of those familiar with the conversations added that the US would be willing to boost aid for advanced telecoms equipment if a nation did decide to shun the Chinese company.
Huawei and ZTE have been targeted by US lawmakers regarding alleged connections between their technology and attempts to gain access to sensitive national security information, allegations which both companies vehemently deny.
The US government has been issuing warnings about the perceived security threats posed by Huawei since 2012. Back in February, bosses from six US intelligence agencies said using a telecoms device from the company could put you at risk of having personal data accessed or stolen — a result of its alleged close ties with the Chinese government.
According to the report, one major concern among Trump officials is the use of Huawei technology in countries that have a prominent American military presence.
The global push, which reportedly predates the Trump administration, also comes as the world prepares for a new era of wireless technology known as 5G. With people becoming more and more internet-dependent, U.S. officials are increasingly sounding the alarm over the potential for Chinese spying.
Security fears related to the use of Chinese technology have emerged in other countries too as network operators start to put their 5G plans into action, though whether such deliberations will result in Huawei and ZTE being locked out of 5G markets is yet to be seen.
In related news, two U.S. senators have recently urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a letter to ban Huawei’s equipment from Canada’s 5G mobile network, while calling it a significant security risk for Canada and its intelligence-sharing allies.