China blasts Germany over reported plan to ban Huawei, ZTE

Chinese embassy says it opposes ‘abuse of state power’ following report Berlin will ban Chinese firms from 5G network.

Germany’s cybersecurity agency and interior ministry reportedly made the decision to ban Chinese tech giants after examining the country’s 5G networks for potential security risks [File: Martin Meissner/AP]

China is “strongly dissatisfied” with Germany’s reported plans to ban Huawei and ZTE from the country’s 5G network, the Chinese embassy has said.

“If the report is true, China is very puzzled and strongly dissatisfied that the relevant German government departments made the above decision without any factual basis,” the embassy in Berlin said in a statement on Wednesday.

“China firmly opposes Germany’s generalisation of the concept of national security and abuse of state power to intervene in the market in its cooperation with China, which not only violates economic laws and the principle of fair competition, but also harms others rather than benefits itself,” the statement said.

The embassy’s remarks come after German newspaper Zeit Online reported that Berlin is preparing to prohibit telecoms companies from using certain components from Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE, following similar bans by Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Germany’s cybersecurity agency and interior ministry made the decision after spending months examining the country’s 5G networks for potential security risks, Zeit Online reported.

Western security officials have claimed that Huawei and ZTE pose threats to national security and privacy due to their close ties to Beijing, making them unsuitable for involvement in next-generation communications networks.

Huawei and ZTE have denied being a security risk.

Germany passed legislation in 2021 to beef up security standards for its next-generation networks but avoided an outright ban on Chinese firms similar to those introduced by other Western countries.

Despite growing moves to isolate Chinese technology, Germany has become more reliant on Huawei for its 5G network, with the firm supplying nearly 60 percent of base stations and related infrastructure, according to a survey last year by telecommunications consultancy Strand Consult.

In its statement, the Chinese embassy said Germany’s reported plan to ban Huawei and ZTE would delay the rollout of the country’s 5G services.

“The German government should listen carefully to the rational voice in its country,” the embassy said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies