Why countries should reject U. S. pressure to ban Huawei
Ken Moak

Editor's Note: Ken Moak, has taught economic theory, public policy and globalization at the university level for 33 years, and he co-authored a book titled "China's Economic Rise and Its Global Impact" in 2015. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Chinese telecommunications giant must have done something right to upset the U.S. so much. 

In addition to charging the company of spying on and stealing its secrets and having Canada arresting its chief financial officer for fraud charges, the U.S. has been putting a lot of pressure on allies and other countries not to use Huawei or any other Chinese equipment in their telecommunications infrastructure and 5G architecture for “national security” concerns.

However, other than Australia and New Zealand, no other countries have banned Huawei equipment and 5G technology entirely from their telecommunications infrastructures nor should they.

First come to mind is that most countries have already invested heavily in Huawei products and/or signed contracts to build the infrastructures. Reneging from the obligations would cost these countries hugely. 

For example, Canada's Telus and Bell have indicated that succumbing to U.S. pressure would cost them over one billion Canadian dollars, set 5G technology back at least two years and raise prices for consumers.

Further, no Western can compete with Huawei in terms of price or technology. Europe's Nokia and Ericsson and ROK's Samsung are far behind Huawei on 5G technology. Their telecommunications equipment would be more expensive and less efficient than those of Huawei.

In the era of globalization, the ability to compete with other nations is a major factor in enhancing and sustaining long-term economic growth and stability. The innovation of 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies is critical because it accelerates the speed and efficiency of production and transportation.

A Huawei exhibition /VCG Photo

A Huawei exhibition /VCG Photo

In the light of the Sino-U.S. trade war and a lack of resources to climb out of the protracted period of slow growth, U.S. allies need to work with Beijing. China seems to be the only country able to supply them with 5G and AI technologies at cost-effective prices, giving them the “biggest bang for the buck.”

China's huge population and growing economic prowess could be the market for its exports. For example, the primary reason for Canada's oil pipeline debate is China, a country that could buy large quantities of Canadian oil and liquified natural gas (LNG).  

Being a resource-based economy, Canada needs economies the size of China to purchase its huge reservoir of commodities such as lumber, foodstuffs and commodities.

The UK needs China more than it is willing to admit. Suggesting the Brexit will further cement Anglo-U.S. relations and revive “Rule Britannia” is delusional. Half, if not more, of its tiny fleet of warships, is in repairs. With post-Brexit growth expected to be less than one percent, the government will struggle to find the money to buy US F35s to fly from the two new aircraft carriers.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron initiated the “golden era of Sino-British relations” for a reason. He and his chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne scoured the world to see which countries could best serve British interests. 

The West and Japan were having problems recovering from the 2008/09 “Great Recession.” India had the potential, but its relatively small economy would not be able to contribute to British economic “salvation” in a meaningful way.

It was probably this thorough analysis that led Cameron and Osborne forge closer economic relations with China, allowing it to build the nuclear plant in Hinckley Point, ferment a business partnership with Huawei, construct infrastructure projects, etc.

Cameron's decision to work with China seems to be shared by other countries. Italy and Germany are going ahead with rolling out their 5G network with Huawei equipment not only because of its cost and advanced technology, but also to cement a long-term economic relationship with the Asian giant. 

What's more, Nokia, Ericsson, and Samsung are far behind, and no U.S. firm can supply the equipment and technology.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron plays Pingpang in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, December 4, 2013. /VCG Photo

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron plays Pingpang in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, December 4, 2013. /VCG Photo

There is zero evidence to indicate Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications are a threat to U.S.' or any other nation's national security. The former head of Britain's Government Communications Headquarters National Cyber Security Center (GCHQ), Robert Hannigan said earlier that allegations against Chinese 5G technology are “nonsense.”

During his three-year tenure as director of GCHQ, he found no evidence of Chinese state cyber spying through Huawei. Hannigan is not alone in this assessment as implied in many countries that are using Huawei equipment to roll out their 5G network.

Pressuring allies to ban Huawei (and other Chinese) telecommunications equipment is asking them to forfeit their national interests and therefore would backfire. Hungary, one of the countries being “arm twisted” by the U.S., has rejected U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's warning of the Chinese government “backdoor” spying. 

Thailand, the Philippines, and over 170 other countries also dismiss the U.S. security concern as “overblown.”

As the 18th-century British diplomat Lord Palmerston observed, nations have no permanent friends or foes, only national interests. Responsible national leaders should promote and protect the interests of their countries and citizens first and foremost. 

In this sense, they are obligated to work with or buy from countries that serve their national interests. It is time for the US to drop the “Cold War” mentality and work with China and other countries to make this world a better place.

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