Beijing’s envoy to Berlin has warned Germany against siding with the US on Huawei, saying that China will retaliate if the telecom company is excluded from the German market, according to national media and Bloomberg reports.
“If Germany were to take a decision that leads to Huawei’s exclusion from the German market, there will be consequences,” Ambassador Wu Ken said on Saturday at a Handelsblatt event. “The Chinese government will not stand idly by.”
The diplomat reportedly pointed out that the German automobile industry accounted for a quarter of the 28 million cars sold in China in 2018. He stressed that it would be “pure protectionism” if Beijing labeled German vehicles unsafe just because it can produce its own cars.
Despite Berlin not singling out Huawei in its draft security guidelines for the rollout of the national 5G network, some government officials are still saying that it could happen if they cannot ensure that there are no security risks. In November, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that that if that’s impossible, “then one has to ban Huawei from the procedure” like other countries have done.
Huawei has repeatedly stressed that the firm has nothing to do with espionage while the US continues to accuse the company of spying. Washington is also using the allegation to pressure its allies to follow suit and ban the Shenzhen-based company from the rollout of next-generation networks.
In an interview with Handelsblatt, the Chinese ambassador rebuffed the allegations again, stressing that there is no law obliging Huawei to share any data with the Chinese government. He said that the US is merely trying to get rid of a strong competitor in high technology, adding that no one had problems with Huawei when it came to 3G or 4G networks.
“There is a very nice German saying, namely the ‘presumption of innocence.’ Please, show us the evidence that Huawei poses any security threat. If there is nothing like that, Huawei must continue to operate on the German market,” Wu Ken said, adding that Beijing wants its companies to be treated equally to German ones.
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