US urges allies to boycott Huawei equipment over espionage concerns

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The US government is trying to persuade wireless and Internet providers in foreign ally countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from China's Huawei Technologies, Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

The United States is urging its allies to stop using Huawei telecommunications equipment because the Chinese company poses a security threat, according to a published report.

According to the Wall Street Journal, US officials have reached out to their counterparts in countries where Huawei's telecom equipment is in widespread use to warn them about what the US has long seen as a cybersecurity risk.

The US is reportedly particularly anxious about the use of Huawei equipment in countries with American military bases, since most nonsensitive communication travels via commercial networks, and it's concerned about Chinese meddling.

"This plays into how it's a time to be cautious on the US-China relationship, but if someone isn't using Huawei, they won't start now, and if they already were, they probably have a significant investment that won't change because of this", Rund said. "There are additional complexities to 5G networks that make them more vulnerable to cyber attacks".

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Huawei is one of the world's biggest manufacturers of telecom equipment, including the network kit required for next generation 5G mobile networks, which are now being rolled out globally. However, that all came crashing down when the President of the United States signed the Defense Authorization Act which, among many other things, banned government usage of Huawei and ZTE products.

Huawei, which has repeatedly denied engaging in intelligence work for any government, is one of several Chinese tech companies that have come under U.S. government scrutiny as a trade war between the two countries escalates.

"Huawei is surprised by the behaviors of the USA government detailed in the article. If a government's behavior extends beyond its jurisdiction, such activity should not be encouraged".

Some other allies have already taken steps to limit Huawei. The fear has extended from simply using Huawei products in the United States, but also internationally, especially on US bases across the globe.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.