Huawei on 5G bans: ‘We don’t do bad things’, no backdoors

Credit: ID 113307795 © Flavijus | Dreamstime.com

Huawei chairman Guo Ping has hit back at US government claims that the company’s 5G technology is a security threat to nations outside of China.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday, Guo said “we don’t do bad things” and “will never plant backdoors”, nor allow anyone else to do so.   

“There has never been more interest in Huawei. We must be doing something right,” said Guo. 

Guo's comments echo those of Huawei's media-shy founder Ren Zhengfei who this week hit out against US national security concerns, stating that “5G is not an atomic bomb”. 

"They've been regarding 5G as the technology at the same level of the — some other military equipment. 5G is not an atomic bomb," said Ren, referring to recent comments from the White House.    

The Chinese network and mobile tech giant has been under intense scrutiny over the past few months as the US pressures European allies to reject Huawei 5G technology due to national security risks. 

US vice president Mike Pence last week called on US allies in Europe to reject Chinese telecom companies or risk reduced US military support.

"We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East," said Pence, urging Europe to “reject” Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies. 

Huawei is at the centre of trade negotiations between the US and China, and has been accused by Washington of stealing intellectual property, violating trade sanctions, and helping Chinese spying. 

While Australia and New Zealand have banned Huawei equipment from 5G networks, the US is yet to make a formal decision. 

US president Donald Trump is considering signing an executive order that would ban commercial networks from buying Huawei technology. 

Despite US intelligence concerns over Huawei technology, Trump earlier this week suggested American technology companies knuckle down and “win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies”. 

European nations appear to be treating US information about Huawei with caution, weighing up the benefits of faster and cheaper 5G deployments against security risks.  

Jeremy Fleming, director of UK spy agency GCHQ this week said its vetting processes for Huawei technology had revealed “significant problems with their cyber security practices”, but suggested the nation would be able to manage the risks.  

“We have to understand the opportunities and threats from China’s technological offer. We have to understand the global nature of supply chains and service provision irrespective of the flag of the supplier,” Fleming said on Monday.  

“It’s a hugely complex strategic challenge which will span the next few decades....probably my whole professional career. How we deal with it will be crucial for prosperity and security way beyond 5G contracts.”

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