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World should beware Washington pushing it into tech Cold War

Source: China Daily | 2019-12-31

An engineer controls a drone at Huawei's 5G center in London. [Photo by Angus Mcheice/China Daily]

Although European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen did not name Huawei in her interview with the media on Friday, everyone is assuming that the unreliable 5G equipment provider she referred to was the Chinese company.

It is a shame that some of the allegations spouted by some US politicians to demonize Huawei and the Chinese government have conveniently found their way into the remarks of the new chief of the executive body of the European Union.

It is also a pity that more than 30 years after the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, a multinational corporation that has established leadership advantages in the latest generation of telecom technology is still subject to such baseless suspicions that gain sustenance from the exploitation of ideological differences.

Indeed, it is always necessary for the administrative authorities to prioritize data safety, given the threats of the know-how gap between technology companies and the public. But that kind of vigilance, when it is materialized into workable access rules and supervisory mechanisms, must be based on professionalism and should be applied to all bidders alike, not on political bias that singles out a particular party.

If it is founded on suppositions, not facts, the vigilance will incur debts on other fronts, including the authority's credibility.

In saying that, it is not yet known whether Leyen has wholeheartedly bought the unwarranted fears about Huawei that Washington has been painstakingly peddling, or if she is seeking to ease some internal pressure within the commission.

But there are concerns that Leyen's baseless skepticism is part of a worrisome trend that the body she chairs is being carried away by Washington's low schemes to strangle Huawei — which include the political abduction of the company's chief financial officer.

Given its broad common interests with China and the bright prospects for cooperation between them, the European Union has no reason to jump into the same boat with the US in the latter's attempt to contain Huawei, which will not only slow down the EU's entry into the 5G era, but also cast a shadow over Sino-EU relations.

The commission should bear in mind that some of its members have never ceased cooperation with the company in the upgrading of their telecom networks and have never encountered any security concerns.

In light of the US administration's routine eavesdropping on its own citizens and other nationals, including some EU leaders, and some US information companies' so-so records in leaking users' data, it is interesting that no US companies vying to take part in the EU's new telecom network construction have been singled out as a threat.

If as Leyen urges, the political system of the countries where the suppliers of the technology and products are from must be considered on security grounds, rather than the technology and products themselves, economic globalization will slip into a technology Cold War that will leave no parties unscathed.