Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

China says unfair treatment of Huawei could damage Japan ties

Japan is preparing to announce the allocation of bandwidth for 5G communications next month

US officials have been pressuring allies to avoid Huawei equipment. Reuters
US officials have been pressuring allies to avoid Huawei equipment. Reuters

Japan’s restrictions on Chinese technology could damage bilateral ties, a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman said in a warning that comes as the US has been pushing its allies to bar Huawei equipment from telecommunications networks as a security threat.

Japan is preparing to announce the allocation of bandwidth for 5G communications next month and the tension over telecommunications with China has posed problems for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His government is seeking to rebuild long fractious ties with Beijing and is also reliant on the US for its defence.

Mr Abe’s government has been careful not to single out Chinese companies for public criticism. But a December report from Japanese public broadcaster NHK said a change to regulations announced that month will effectively exclude China’s Huawei and ZTE from Japanese government procurement.

“If the Japanese government’s approach is obviously unfair, it will definitely shake the confidence of mutual trust and business cooperation between the two countries and undermine the momentum of improvement and development of bilateral relations,” Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters. He said he was already aware of damage to Huawei and ZTE in Japan.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Friday that Tokyo is not calling for specific countries or companies to be excluded from procurement.

“Ties between Japan and China have returned to a normal path and are beginning to develop further. The government wants to elevate the relationship to a new level through frequent high-level visits,” Mr Suga said.

Japan’s three largest mobile carriers have banned Huawei and ZTE equipment from their base stations, Kyodo News reported in December. The Nikkei newspaper also said in December that the Japanese government was planning to call on businesses in 14 sectors including water, gas and air transportation, to avoid buying communications equipment seen as posing security risks.

US officials have been pressuring allies to avoid Huawei equipment, citing security concerns. Washington also charges that the company stole intellectual property and violated sanctions on exports to Iran. Huawei has denied wrongdoing and repeated that it doesn’t provide spying back doors for the Chinese government.

The UK, which is also preparing to roll out 5G services, on Thursday criticised Huawei in a report for failing to address security risks.

Updated: March 29, 2019 05:40 PM

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