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The Canadian government bans ‘Huawei/ZTE 5G equipment’ to protect national security

Ottawa: Canada announced on Thursday that it will prohibit the use of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp 5G equipment from China in order to defend national security, joining the rest of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network. ‘ We want to prohibit Huawei and ZTE from our 5G networks,’ Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in an interview with reporters in Ottawa. ‘ Under the measures, we’re presenting today, providers that currently have this equipment installed will be compelled to stop using it and remove it.’

Champagne further stated that businesses would be obliged to remove their 5G equipment by June 2024 and will not be paid. Companies who use 4G equipment must remove it by the end of 2027. The highly anticipated decision had been postponed due to diplomatic concerns with China. The equipment has already been outlawed by the remainder of the Five Eyes network, which includes Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Canada originally declared in September 2018 that it will investigate the potential vulnerabilities to national security posed by Huawei equipment. Then, in December of the same year, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was detained in Canada on a U.S. warrant, sparking a long-running dispute with China that was ultimately resolved last September with Meng’s release.

Following Meng’s detention, Beijing detained two Canadians and charged them with espionage. Meng was freed on the same day as the two guys. Diplomatic tensions between China and Canada have begun to lessen. China lifted a three-year ban on Canadian canola seed imports on Wednesday, reversing what was seen as a punitive measure in response to Meng’s detention. Thursday’s decision follows the choice of Canadian telecom operators to employ 5G gear from other businesses.

According to a representative for China’s embassy in Canada, the purported security concerns are a ‘pretext for political manipulation,’¬†and Canada is collaborating with the US to stifle Chinese firms. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Alykhan Velshi, Huawei’s vice president of corporate relations in Canada, stated that the business is still waiting to hear ‘what type of national security dangers they think Huawei poses’,¬†Velshi stated that Huawei still employs 1,500 people in Canada, largely in research and development, and that it continues to sell products such as mobile phones.

ZTE did not reply to demands for comment right away. In 2020, Bell Canada and competitor Telus Corp signed up with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia Oyj to create fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications networks, bypassing Huawei while employing Huawei 4G equipment. Along with the prohibition, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino stated that Canada will write new legislation to protect important banking, telecommunications, energy, and transportation infrastructure from cyber attacks.


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