- The US and Chinese phone giant Huawei are at each other’s throats.
- America claims Huawei is used as a backdoor for the Chinese government to spy. Huawei denies this.
- The US has been lobbying allies to reject Huawei’s 5G technology, but not everyone’s listening.
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For months the US has been in a political dogfight with Chinese tech giant Huawei over claims the company acts as a proxy for the Chinese government to spy.
Although US officials have long cautioned against the company, tensions heightened in December when Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada, and subsequently indicted by the US for alleged bank and wire fraud. Meng and Huawei deny any wrongdoing, and the CFO is currently fighting extradition to the US.
Read more: What you need to know about Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese tech founder’s daughter whose arrest could set fire to US-China relations
Initially, Huawei struck a conciliatory tone, with CEO Ren Zhengei (who is also Meng Wanzhou’s father) breaking a long press silence to call Donald Trump a “great president.” Since then, however, a fight has erupted between the company and the Trump administration, with Huawei denying any claims of spying and accusing the US of orchestrating Meng Wanzhou’s arrest for political reasons.
The US has been furiously lobbying its allies to freeze out Huawei’s 5G network equipment, citing national security concerns. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned allied countries in mid-February that it would be “more difficult” for the US to partner with countries that didn’t distance themselves from Huawei.
President Trump ramped up the pressure yet further in May by signing an executive order declaring a national emergency over “threats against information and communications technology and services,” a move expected to precede a ban on US businesses buying equipment from Huawei.
America’s lobbying efforts have been met with mixed success. Here is a run-down of how allies have reacted.