Canada says it will ban Huawei and ZTE from the country’s 5G network, a move that puts it in line with intelligence-sharing allies, but which risks further intimidating ties with China.
The federal government made the announcement on Thursday afternoon after it had indicated for several months that it intends to block China’s leading telecom companies from accessing 5G networks in China. Canada.
“We will take whatever measures are necessary to protect our communications infrastructure,” said Minister for Innovation, Francois-Philippe Champagne. Telecommunications Providers who already have equipment from the companies should remove it – and Champagne said there will be no compensation provided by the federal government. Canadian carriers have spent nearly C$700 million (US$546 million) on Huawei equipment over the years, largely on 4G or LTE equipment.
The remaining Five Eyes network – the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand – has already been banned Huawei equipment.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino called the move a “necessary step” amid growing doubts about Beijing’s credibility.
For years, Canada has faced increasing pressure from allies, most notably the United States, to ban Huawei 5G equipment over concerns that it could jeopardize national security.
In 2018, Canada said it would review any potential concerns arising from the adoption of the technology.
But any decision was put on hold after Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada by order of the United States. In a move widely seen as retaliatory, China arrested two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and later accused the men of espionage. The long-running dispute ended after a British Columbia court ordered Meng’s release. China released the Canadians hours later.
As the standoff continued, relations between the two countries soured. While China It recently lifted a ban on Canadian canola imports that had held for years, in a sign of improving relations, and it is unclear how Thursday’s decision will affect relations between the two countries. Chinese government officials had earlier warned that a ban on telecommunications infrastructure could lead to retaliatory measures.
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