China envoy to Canada issues warning on Huawei 5G ban

January 18, 2019 09:13
Chinese Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye warned Ottawa there will be repercussions if it bans Huawei from supplying equipment to Canadian 5G networks. Photo: Reuters

China’s envoy to Canada warned Ottawa there would be repercussions if it banned technology firm Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from supplying equipment to Canadian 5G networks, Reuters reports. 

Ambassador Lu Shaye, speaking at a news conference on Thursday, did not give details. Canada is currently studying the security implications of 5G networks, but unlike some allies has not announced Huawei equipment will be excluded.   

“If the Canadian government does ban Huawei from participating in the 5G network, then as for what kind of repercussion there will be, I’m not sure, but I believe there will be repercussions,” Lu said through an interpreter, urging Ottawa to “make a wise decision on this issue”.  

In London, the University of Oxford said it has stopped accepting funding from Huawei Technologies after scrutiny over the company’s relationship with China’s government.

“Oxford University decided on January 8 this year that it will not pursue new funding opportunities with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. or its related group companies at present,” the university said in a statement. 

“The decision has been taken in the light of public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei. We hope these matters can be resolved shortly.” 

A Huawei spokesman said they had not been informed of the Oxford decision and only found out when it was reported in the media.

Relations between China and Canada turned frosty last month after Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, on a US extradition request.  

China subsequently detained two Canadian citizens, and this month a court retried a Canadian man who previously had been found guilty of drug smuggling, and sentenced him to death.  

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Beijing of arbitrarily using the death penalty and called world leaders to solicit their support.  

Lu said when Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland went to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week she should avoid “microphone diplomacy” and not try to rally support.  

“If Canada has a sincerity of resolving these issues, then Canada will not do such things. We hope Canada thinks twice before making any actions,” he said.   

In response, Freeland said Canada had no intention of changing its approach.  

“We will continue to speak every day with our allies about this situation,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet retreat in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

She declined to give details about the review into 5G technology. A Canadian source directly familiar with the case said the study would not be released in the immediate future.

Huawei has a relatively small Canadian operation, employing just shy of 1,000 people. But the company said early this year it had become the 25th largest research and development funder in Canada, thanks to partnerships with local universities.  

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers introduced bills that would ban the sale of US chips or other components to Huawei, ZTE Corp. (000063.CN) or other Chinese firms that violate US sanctions or export control laws. 

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