Canada bans China’s Huawei, ZTE 5G equipment, joins Five Eyes allies

Canada says it plans to ban the use of 5G equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp to protect national security, joining the rest of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network. .

Canada on Thursday said it plans to ban the use of 5G equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp to protect national security, joining the rest of a so-called intelligence-sharing network. Five Eyes newspaper.

“We plan to exclude Huawei and ZTE from our 5G network,” Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told reporters in Ottawa. “Suppliers that have installed this equipment will be required to discontinue use and dispose of the equipment in accordance with the plan we announced today.”

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Champagne added that companies will be required to discard their 5G equipment by June 2024, which will not be refunded. Companies using their 4G equipment must be phased out by the end of 2027.

The decision – much expected – was delayed amid diplomatic tensions with China. The rest of the Five Eyes network – which includes Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand – has banned the device.

In September 2018, Canada announced for the first time that it would consider possible threats to national security from the use of Huawei equipment.

Then in December of the same year, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on the orders of the US, creating a protracted dispute with China that was finally ended in September last year with the release of Mr. do for Meng.

Following Meng’s arrest, two Canadians were arrested by Beijing and charged with espionage. The two men were released on the same day as Meng.

Currently, diplomatic tensions between China and Canada have somewhat subsided. On Wednesday, China lifted a three-year restriction on Canadian canola imports, reversing what it saw as retaliation for Meng’s arrest.

Thursday’s decision came after telcos in Canada opted to use other companies’ 5G hardware.

China expressed opposition to this decision. “We will take all necessary measures to protect the legitimate interests of Chinese companies,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing on Friday.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Canada said the alleged security concerns were “an excuse for political manipulation” and accused Canada of working with the United States to crack down on Chinese companies.

Alykhan Velshi, Huawei’s vice president of corporate affairs in Canada, said in an interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corp that the company is still waiting to hear “the kind of national security threat it thinks Huawei poses. out”.

Velshi said Huawei still has 1,500 employees in Canada, mainly doing research and development, and selling products like mobile phones and will continue to do so.

ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 2020, Bell Canada and rival Telus Corp – two of the largest wireless providers – teamed up with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia Oyj to build a fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications network. ), abandoned Huawei for the project despite using Huawei’s 4G equipment.

In addition to the ban, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Canada would draft new legislation to protect critical financial, telecommunications, energy and transportation infrastructure from cyber threats.

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