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China’s Huawei hits back after US blacklisting

The picture shows the Huawei logo and signage at the company’s main UK offices in Reading, west of London, on April 29, 2019. (By AFP)

Chinese telecom giant Huawei has lambasted as “unreasonable” US President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to ban telecommunications equipment from “foreign adversaries” that is perceived to pose a national security risk.

“If the US restricts Huawei, it will not make the US safer, nor will it make the US stronger. It will only force the US to use inferior and expensive alternative equipment, lagging behind other countries... and ultimately harming US companies and consumers,” said Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in a statement carried by the state-run Global Times, on Wednesday.

The statement came a few hours after Trump stepped up his battle against the world’s biggest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment on Wednesday, when he signed an executive order that effectively bars Huawei from the US market.

The order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the American president the authority to regulate commerce in response to what is believed to be a national emergency that threatens the United States.

The order gives the Department of Commerce 150 days to draw up a plan for enforcement. The department said in a statement that it had added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its “Entity List,” preventing the firm from purchasing parts and components from American companies without US government approval.

Trump’s order did not mention specific countries or companies by name but it was clear that it took aim at Huawei, which has been accused by the White House of spying through its sophisticated 5G technology for the Chinese government, an allegation strongly denied by both the firm and Beijing.

Washington has not yet provided any evidence to support the espionage allegation.

Elsewhere in its statement, Huawei said that it was willing to “communicate with the US to ensure product security.” It also warned that the order infringed on Huawei’s rights and could lead to serious legal battles down the road.

On Thursday and in response to Trump’s controversial order, Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang slammed the US actions against “specific Chinese companies” as “disgraceful and unjust.”

“We urge the US side to stop oppressing Chinese companies under the pretext of security concerns and provide a fair, just, and non-discriminatory environment for their normal investment and operation,” he added.

In August last year, Trump also signed a bill that barred the US government itself from using Huawei equipment.

Back in early December last year, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada at the request of the US on charges of bank and wire fraud in violation of US sanctions against Iran.

The company has denied the US accusations and says the concerns are unfounded.

Critics of the US say that its motive in attacking Huawei is not because it is a genuine security threat but because it is a rival in a crucial sector of the world economy in which America has enjoyed supremacy for decades.

The order comes at a sensitive time in US-China relations, as the world’s two largest economies have been locked for almost a year in an escalating trade war.

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