The Trump administration’s aggressive campaign to prevent countries from using Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications equipment in their next-generation wireless networks has faltered, with even some of America’s closest allies rejecting the United States’ argument that the companies pose a security threat.
Over the past several months, American officials have tried to pressure, scold and, increasingly, threaten other nations that are considering using Huawei in building fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has pledged to withhold intelligence from nations that continue to use Chinese telecom equipment. The American ambassador to Germany cautioned Berlin this month that the United States would curtail intelligence sharing if that country used Huawei.
The warnings stem from the United States’ concern that Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies are a significant security threat given Beijing’s control over the industry. Top officials have pointed to new Chinese security laws that require Huawei and other companies to provide information to intelligence officials, arguing China could gain access to the vast amounts of data that will ultimately travel over 5G, allowing Beijing to spy on companies, individuals and governments — an accusation Huawei has vehemently denied.