US flags Huawei 5G network security concerns to Gulf allies

September 13, 2019 09:28
Washington is believed to have told its allies in the Persian Gulf region to think carefully before using Huawei equipment in 5G networks. Photo: Reuters

The United States has flagged concerns with its Gulf allies over a possible security risk in using Huawei’s technology for 5G mobile infrastructure, Reuters reports.

“We shared a ... message about the importance of securing 5G technology and applying risk based security principles,” Robert Strayer, the US State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for cyber, international communications and information policy was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Washington has been warning allies against using the Chinese company’s equipment, which it says presents a security risk, but has so far largely made public comments to European states.

Huawei has repeatedly denied the US allegations, which were raised last week during a visit by Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, all of which are using its equipment.

Washington says Huawei could be exploited by Beijing, and has threatened to cut off intelligence-sharing with nations that use its equipment. 

Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet while the UAE hosts American soldiers supporting US military operations in the region, the report noted.

Washington has also said it plans to station soldiers in Saudi Arabia as part of a wider deployment in the region.

“We think that when you apply a security based framework, one would end up excluding Huawei from deployments of 5G,” Strayer, who was with Pai on the visit to the region, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

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