US and China Trade Threats Over Huawei 5G and Brazil

A water utility worker from CEDAE disinfects the Turano favela in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro on June 9. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

BEIJING (AFP) — Beijing on Thursday slammed U.S. warnings of “consequences” if Brazil chooses Chinese telecom company Huawei to develop its 5G network, accusing Washington of “unscrupulous oppression” of the Chinese tech companies.

Huawei — the world’s top producer of telecom networking equipment — has become a pivotal issue in the geopolitical standoff between Beijing and Washington, which claims the firm poses a significant cybersecurity threat. 

Brazil is due to launch a tender next year for a project to develop the next generation of telecom technology in Latin America’s most populous country, home to 212 million people.

But the U.S. ambassador in Brasilia, Todd Chapman, warned in an interview of “consequences” if Brazil goes against U.S. advice and picks the Chinese firm.

Beijing on Thursday called the ambassador’s remarks an example of the U.S. “openly coercing other countries to obey the will of the United States.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the United States opposed the use of Huawei products not on national security grounds, but because they object to the rise of Chinese firms.

“When other countries’ enterprises achieve a leading advantage, U.S. politicians will fabricate excuses to use national power to conduct unscrupulous oppression,” Wang said at a regular press briefing.

Washington has effectively barred Huawei from the U.S. market and waged a global campaign to isolate the company.

The British government bowed to growing U.S. pressure and pledged this month to remove Huawei from its 5G network by 2027, despite warnings of retaliation from Beijing.

Australia and Japan have also taken steps to block or restrict the Chinese company’s participation in their 5G rollouts, while European telecom operators including Norway’s Telenor and Sweden’s Telia have passed over Huawei as a supplier.

© Agence France-Presse

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