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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal cabinet will soon vote on the ban on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. of Canada’s 5G mobile network, now that Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have returned home after nearly three years in Chinese prisons.
Trudeau strongly suggested to reporters on Tuesday that Ottawa is likely to disconnect the Chinese tech company from Canada’s next-generation wireless infrastructure, noting that major telecommunications operators in that country have already chosen to buy equipment to western suppliers. Huawei’s 5G technology has been banned in other countries over fears Beijing would use it for espionage.
“We’ve actually seen that many, if not all, Canadian telecommunications companies have started taking Huawei off their networks and moving forward in ways that don’t involve them as a business,” he said. “We will definitely be making announcements in the coming weeks. “
The prime minister linked the upcoming decision to the release of the two Michael’s, who were released on Friday after Washington and Beijing reached a deal that allowed Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou to return home under ‘a deferred prosecution agreement.
Trudeau said Huawei’s decision will be part of a broader review of Canada-China relations, which reached their worst point since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 after the two Michaels were arrested in December 2018. They were charged with espionage, in apparent Chinese retaliation for Canada detaining Ms Meng over a US extradition request. The Americans had accused her bank and electronic fraud related to violations of US sanctions against Iran.
“Obviously, it is very good news that the Michaels have returned to Canada,” said Mr. Trudeau. “As we develop our governance plan, as we move closer to our positioning, this [case of the Michaels] will have an impact and we will be eager to share a decision on many different issues including Telecom and Huawei.
As a sign that Ottawa is taking a tougher approach towards China, the federal government in August ordered a Chinese state-owned telecommunications company to cease operations in Canada over national security concerns. China Mobile was asked to either liquidate its subsidiary, China Mobile International Canada (CMI Canada), or to divest itself of the company. The order was made public after Telecommunications challenged it in court on September 7.
In July, the government unveiled revised guidelines outlining new areas of concern for Ottawa as it examines foreign takeovers and investments in key sectors of the economy, as well as funding for top research. range. The move followed concerns expressed by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service over the loss of intellectual property and sensitive technologies to foreign countries like China.
After the Michaels’ arrest in late 2018, the federal government dismissed whether it would follow its key allies and ban Huawei, saying it is still leading a 5G cybersecurity review.
Officials from major Canadian telecommunications companies have previously told The Globe that they expect Ottawa to ban Huawei. BCE Inc., Telus Corp. and Rogers Communications Inc. have opted instead of using 5G equipment from Nokia in Finland, Ericsson in Sweden or Samsung in South Korea.
The Canadian Telecom executives have said they believe Ottawa will give them two to three years to phase out their current Huawei phone equipment, as the government is unlikely to compensate them for the billions of dollars needed to snatch it up and down. replace immediately.
The Globe reported that Ottawa will recommend testing the equipment of all 5G vendors for security vulnerabilities, even though Huawei is banned.
Currently, Huawei equipment is tested for cybersecurity vulnerabilities in Canada in independent laboratories. Canadian wireless networks have included Huawei technology for more than a decade, but Ottawa has banned it at core networks.
Canada is the only member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance – which also includes Australia, Britain, the United States and New Zealand – that has yet to ban or restrict the use of Huawei 5G mobile equipment. Japan and Taiwan are other countries that are building 5G networks without Huawei’s involvement. India is also reportedly phasing out Huawei equipment, amid a border dispute with China.
U.S. national security agencies, along with three former directors of Canadian spy agencies, said Huawei cannot be trusted and Canada should ban it from providing the country’s 5G network infrastructure. The Globe reported that CSIS and the Canadian military have recommended that Ottawa prevent Huawei from selling its 5G equipment to domestic companies.
Beijing sees Huawei as its high-tech gem and flooded it with cash, allowing the company to compete globally in a way that makes it difficult for businesses in democratic countries to compete.
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