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US’s Pelosi urges countries to steer clear of Huawei for 5G

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, speaks on the first day of the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Friday, Feb.14, 2020. (Sven Hoppe / AP)
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, speaks on the first day of the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Friday, Feb.14, 2020. (Sven Hoppe / AP)
Associated Press

MUNICH – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appealed Friday to an audience in Germany for countries to steer clear of Chinese tech giant Huawei as they build their next-generation cellular networks, adding her voice to pressure from the Trump administration.

“China is seeking to export its digital autocracy through its telecommunication giant Huawei,” Pelosi said during an appearance at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of foreign and security leaders from around the world.

“Nations cannot cede our telecommunication infrastructure to China for financial expediency,” Pelosi said. “Such an ill-conceived concession would only embolden (President) Xi (Jinping) as he undermines democratic values, human rights, economic independence and national security.“

Chinese domination of 5G “would be to choose autocracy over democracy,“ the speaker said. “We must instead move to an internationalization.”

Pelosi’s remarks underlined bipartisan suspicion of Huawei in the United States.

The Trump administration has raised national security concerns about Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, and is aggressively lobbying Western allies to bar the company from wireless, high-speed networks.

Trump administration officials, including Cabinet secretaries, say Huawei can give the Chinese government backdoor access to data, allegations the company rejects. The U.S. has been trying to have European nations ban the gear from next-generation cellular networks, but countries are shying away from banning it altogether.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper are also at the Munich conference.

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