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5G: New Zealand denies having banned Huawei because it is Chinese

Wellington, November 29, 2018 – New Zealand denied on Thursday that Huawei's Chinese nationality is the reason why it has banned the use of group equipment to develop its 5G network, but has stated rather technological problems.

Wellington also denied allegations that his secret service was under pressure from members of the so-called "Five Eyes" – which also includes Australian, British, US and Canadian intelligence services – to ban Huawei because of concerns about the links between the group and the Chinese government.

"It's not about the country or the company, it's the technology we offer," said New Zealand Minister of Justice Andrew Little, who also controls the National Radio, as well as the Government of the Security Communications Authority (GCSB).

"Australia, the United States or other parties did not provide the GCSB with any advice as to the decisions it has to take."

New Zealand's largest telecom operator, Spark, said on Wednesday that New Zealand security services had forbidden Huawei to expand its 5G network by citing "significant national security risks".

The announcement appeared after reports from the US Wall Street Journal about launching a campaign that blamed allied companies for using Huawei's 5G device for fear of sensitive information.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Wednesday voiced "deep concern."

"The Chinese government urges Chinese companies to adhere to the principles of the international market and regulations and to develop economic partnerships abroad that respect local laws," the spokesman said, adding that "economic and trade partnerships between China and New Zealand bring mutual benefits."

In August, Australia announced that Huawei and another Chinese telecom giant ZTE will be excluded from the 5G network deployment, and Canberra says foreign companies pose a security risk.

China is New Zealand's largest trading partner.

5G networks will increase mobile and ultra-fast Internet access and will connect countless daily objects.

Huawei, whose founder Ren Zhengfei is a former Chinese army engineer, has always ensured his independence and said he never used his equipment to spy on or sabotage communications in the countries where they are deployed.

Mr. Little refused to specify the "risks" mentioned by Spark, merely to say that there is a "risk associated with the use of technology", the details of which are secret.

"We know that telecommunication networks, like other infrastructures, are vulnerable to invasions, computer attacks, and so on around the world," he said.

"So we have to make sure everything is done to protect our country from these risks."

ns / dm / JAC / hr


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