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US Designates Huawei and ZTE as Threats to National Security

US President Donald Trump officially designates Huawei and ZTE as threats to national security.

The American government has also blocked American companies from spending federal subsidies on Huawei and ZTE equipment(s).

Yesterday, while announcing the designations, Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, cited the repeated claims that the companies have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military, hence, pose a risk to America.

Mr Pai stressed that both companies were subject to China’s National Intelligence Law of 2017, which could oblige them “to co-operate with the country’s intelligence services”

We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure,” Mr Pai added.


Courtesy Image:Diplomatic relations between the US and China have been fraught

US companies have been prohibited from spending money received from her $8.3bn (£6.7bn) universal service fund.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner applauded the decision and warned US allies that Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted.

For starters, the US Universal Service Fund is designed to subsidise internet access for under-connected areas, on equipment produced by either company.

Courtesy Image in unnamed Huawei shop

On their response, Huawei and ZTE have denied covertly operating on behalf of the Chinese state and point out that no evidence has been presented that they have done so.

The designation follows new sanctions in the US targeting Huawei.

Huawei warned the move might put it out of business. Almost all semiconductors on the market – which are essential across the whole of Huawei’s product line, from radio base stations to servers and smartphones – contain US intellectual property.

The sanctions have forced the UK to reassess its decision to allow Huawei equipment a limited role within the country’s 5G network.

Boris Johnson had in January this year made the decision to allow the company’s equipment a limited role, of no greater share than 35%, within the non-core parts of the UK’s network.

“Following the US announcement of additional sanctions against Huawei, the NCSC is looking carefully at any impact they could have to the UK’s networks,” a spokesperson confirmed to Sky News.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday this review was ongoing.

Copies of the "Investigative Report on the US National Security Issues posed by Chinese Telecommunications Companies Huawei and ZTE" are seen on a table during a press conference to announce their release October 8, 2012 in the House Visitors Center of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)
Courtesy Image:Huawei and ZTE have been scrutinised in the US for many years

Both Huawei and ZTE have been scrutinised by Western government agencies for many years due to the potential cyber security risks which their equipment might introduce into telecoms networks.

A congressional report investigating the companies, published in 2012, recommended that the US “view with suspicion the continued penetration of the US telecommunications marker by Chinese companies” due to fears that Beijing could use their equipment for espionage or to conduct cyber attacks against America.

President Trump’s administration has had multiple arguments with Beijing, imposing tariffs on trade in 2018 before signing a trade deal in January 2020.

Trump has been constantly blaming China for the coronavirus outbreak.

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