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Warner, Rubio urge Canadian PM Trudeau to block Huawei from 5G network

October 12, 2018

Two leading Senate Intelligence committee members are urging Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ban Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei from Canada’s next-generation 5G mobile network, citing fears the technology is a major security risk.

“We write with grave concerns about the possibility that Canada might include Huawei Technologies or any other Chinese state-directed telecommunications company in its fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications network infrastructure,” the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia, and Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, wrote to Mr. Trudeau in a letter dated Oct. 11.

In addition to the tit-for-tat trade war between the U.S. and China, Washington has viewed Chinese technologies with increasing scrutiny in recent months. Earlier this year the controversial Chinese tech giant ZTE was banned from buying U.S. parts after officials earned the firm had violated trade bans with Iran and North Korea.

Mr. Warner and Mr. Rubio, who have been active in pushing ZTE to comply with new export controls and sanctions laws, shared in the letter to Mr. Trudeau their concerns that allowing Huawei into Canada’s next era of wireless infrastructure could compromise intelligence sharing between the U.S., Canada and other key national security allies.

They specifically cite relations among the so-called “Five Eyes” the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand who allow their intelligence agencies to share senative information to prevent espionage and terrorism.

“As you are aware, Huawei is not a normal private-sector company,” the senators wrote. “There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a ‘national champion,’ is no exception.”

The senators write that they were troubled by Canada’s top cybersecurity official recently rejecting the idea of banning Huawei and note that Australia has “effectively banned Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese state-directed companies from its nation’s 5G network” with officials in the U.K. well aware of the “new risks” pose by the Shenzhen-based firm.

Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment and the No. 3 smartphone supplier, has already been mostly shut out of the giant U.S. market over national security concerns, with Japan also now studying whether to impose regulations on the firm.

According to Canada’s leading newspaper, The Globe and Mail, Mr. Trudeau has previously declined to say whether Canada might ban Huawei.

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