According to the Wall Street Journal, US Ambassador Richard A. Grenell sent a letter to the German economy minister, which said that Berlin should discriminate against Chinese companies like Huawei when selecting providers of 5G equipment to upgrade its networks.
The move would shake up Germany's security sector, which relies on intelligence from the NSA, CIA, and other American agencies.
Huawei has strenuously denied allegations its equipment could be used for espionage. The ambassador named Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung among the companies that can help build the 5G network.
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Ongoing concerns in the U.S. about Chinese company Huawei have spread to Germany, where security agencies have been warned that they'll be cut off from certain intelligence data if Huawei equipment is used as part of the nation's 5G infrastructure.
"An official from the German Economic Ministry dismissed the letter from Grenell, saying that it included no new information and reiterating that there was no evidence to support USA claims that Huawei posed a risk", Asia Times reported on Monday.
An official from the German Economic Ministry dismissed the letter from Grenell, saying that it included no new information and reiterating that there was no evidence to support U.S. claims that Huawei posed a risk. Further, the US likely needs its allies to support the pushback against Huawei in order for the isolation tactic to have any meaningful effect.
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The State Department has not commented on Grenell's letter, but Garrett Marquis, a National Security Council spokesperson, outlined how Huawei's 5G networks could pose a constantly evolving and shifting threat.
"Because 5G networks are largely software-defined, updates pushed to the network by the manufacturer can radically change how they operate", NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis told the paper.
Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said that it had received the respective letter from the USA authorities.
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The year ended with the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer in Canada at United States request, to the consternation of China. Australia and New Zealand are complying, banning domestic companies from using Huawei gear in their networks. But suspicions have increased enough that the company's founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei, tried to quash them earlier this year, when he said, "No law requires any company in China to install mandatory backdoors". The company said it had a "solid track record in cybersecurity" and further accused the USA of breaking into its corporate systems, stealing information.