Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says countries should avoid doing business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei after the Chinese Communist Party’s lack of transparency in the coronavirus outbreak.
“This moment, where the Chinese Communist Party failed to be transparent and open and handle data in an appropriate way, will cause many, many countries rethink what they were doing with respect to their telecom architecture,” Pompeo told Fox Business.
Pompeo added: “When Huawei comes knocking to sell them equipment and hardware, that they will have a different prism through which to view that decision.”
In the UK, there’s a political struggle to reverse a decision by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to allow Huawei to build the country’s 5G cellphone infrastructure. Johnson is recovering from COVID-19.
Pompeo has led US efforts to deter allies from using Huawei. The US viewed Johnson’s decision on Huawei as a major blow to the “five eyes” electronic surveillance alliance between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
US officials fear Communist China could use Huawei to collect intelligence.
President Trump suspended US funding for the World Health Organization this week, alleging the United Nations body circulated false Chinese data on COVID-19, leaving other nations unprepared for the pandemic. Trump said the WHO was “China-centric” and on Friday circulated Taiwan’s accusation that the WHO ignored its Dec. 31 warning about human-to-human transmission of the virus inside China.
The pandemic, which has sickened more than 2.1 million and killed at least 147,000, highlighted Chinese influence over other international organizations.
China’s influence on UN entities includes the 2014 election of Zhao Houlin — a former official in China’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications — to be secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, which guides cellphone network standards. Zhao reportedly used the job to promote Huawei as a provider of 5G.