The Canadian government is currently carrying out a security review of 5G technology
China’s ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, said that Canada would face consequences if it prevents Canadian telecom firms from using equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei for the deployment of 5G networks, according to published reports.
“I hope Canadian officials and relevant authorities and bodies will make a wise decision on this issue. But if the Canadian government does ban Huawei from participating in the 5G networks, I believe there will be repercussions,” Lu reportedly said during a press conference in Ottawa.
Lu did not provide details about what the repercussions for Canada would be.
The Canadian government is currently in process of conducting its security review of 5G telecommunications technology, and a decision on whether to restrict Huawei is still at least months away Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
In December, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou — who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei — was arrested in Canada for extradition to the United States, in relation to an investigation of whether the company violated U.S. sanctions against Iran.
China subsequently detained two Canadian citizens: businessman Michael Spavor, and Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave to work for a non-governmental organization based in China.
“The detention of Ms. Meng is groundless because she did not violate any Canadian law. But on the other hand, the detention of the two Canadian nationals were due to their suspicion of engagement in activities that endanger Chinese national security,” Lu said.
Since last year, some U.S. lawmakers have been urging the Canadian government to ban Huawei from providing 5G gear to Canadian carriers over security allegations. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Mark Warner, vice-chair of the intelligence committee, said that allowing Huawei into Canada’s 5G wireless infrastructure network could interfere with intelligence sharing between key allies and impair cross-border co-operation in telecommunications between U.S. and Canadian firms.
However, Prime Minister Trudeau said at the time that he does not want politics to interfere in the decision to select vendors for the deployment of 5G networks in Canada, the Globe and Mail reported. Trudeau also said that he trusts the ability of Canada’s spy agencies to mitigate any potential security risks.
This week, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced bills that would ban the sale of U.S. chips or other components to Chinese vendors — including Huawei and ZTE — that violate US laws. If passed, the bill would require the U.S. president to ban the export of U.S. components to any Chinese telecommunications company that violates U.S. sanctions or export control laws. The bill stipulates that penalties for violating U.S. export control laws or sanctions cannot be withdrawn until a pattern of compliance and cooperation over the course of a year proves that the practices by Chinese firms have been changed.