The Chinese government threatened Germany with retaliation if it excluded Chinese vendor Huawei from 5G contracts in the European country, Bloomberg reported.
“If Germany were to take a decision that leads to Huawei’s exclusion from the German market, there will be consequences,” China’s ambassador to Germany Wu Ken reportedly said. “The Chinese government will not stand idly by.”
Ambassador Wu highlighted that German car makers accounted for a quarter of the 28 million cars sold in China last year.
“Could we say one day that these German cars are no longer safe because we’re in a position to manufacture our own cars? No. That is pure protectionism,” the diplomat was quoted as saying.
A number of lawmakers in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition have recently raised concerns about the potential involvement of Huawei in the deployment of 5G wireless networks in Germany over security allegations.
Last month, a group of over 80 officials of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party presented a motion at the party’s annual convention against Huawei’s participation in building 5G networks.
“Only those suppliers can be trustworthy that are not under the influence of undemocratic states without a functioning rule of law,” reads the text approved during the party convention.
“Big companies in China have by law to serve the interest of the Communist party in China and cooperate with Chinese intelligence,” said Norbert Roettgen, head of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, of ruling party CDU, is in favor of allowing Huawei to supply components for Germany’s 5G networks, according to previous reports. Merkel had recently signaled she wouldn’t consider the CDU motion as binding.
The German government recently finalized rules for the deployment of 5G mobile networks in the country, which would not exclude Huawei Technologies. Government officials have confirmed, however, that the country’s “security catalogue” will involve evaluation of technical and additional criteria. However, no single vendor would be barred.
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Sunday warned against passing laws that single out firms. “We shouldn’t turn against individual companies and instead insist that all electronic and high technology components used in Germany meet the highest security requirements,” he said in an interview published in Der Tagesspiegel newspaper. “Whoever doesn’t meet them is out.”
The U.S. government has been urging its allies to ban Huawei from participating in 5G deployments, saying its telecom equipment contains “back doors” that would enable China to spy on other countries.
German operators have warned that banning the Chinese company would significantly delay 5G deployments in the country.