Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu answers questions from journalists following a luncheon conference in Montreal on Thursday, December 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Graham Hughes
The Chinese ambassador to Canada calls on the federal government to ignore “fabricated” warnings from the United States about Huawei and to allow the Chinese telecommunications giant’s participation in that country’s 5G networks.
Ambassador Cong Peiwu made the comments during a broad discussion on Tuesday in which he also warned Canada against any official contact with Taiwan and lambasted the United States for a planned diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Olympics. winter.
The discussion hosted by the Center for International Governance Innovation comes as the Liberal government looks set to finally decide whether Huawei will be allowed to participate in the next-generation AI-powered 5G internet network.
Canada is the only member of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance – whose members include the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand – that has yet to announce a decision despite years of study and safety reviews.
The other four countries have all banned or restricted Huawei’s involvement in their own networks, citing concerns that allowing the company’s equipment in their enhanced data networks could make them more vulnerable to Chinese espionage.
Cong hit back at such concerns in a discussion hosted by Waterloo, Ont., Think tank CIGI, describing the U.S. warnings over Huawei as a “ploy” intended to harm Huawei and other Chinese companies.
Various reports have emerged over the years regarding concerns over Huawei equipment, especially in Europe and Africa, but the ambassador maintained that there was no “concrete evidence” that Huawei poses a security threat.
“It’s invented by the United States,” Cong said. “And the main goal is to crack down on Huawei. “
Cong went on to accuse the United States itself of being the “greatest threat” when it comes to espionage, including from its own allies. Washington has been accused on several occasions over the years of spying on top European politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“It’s the United States that has been doing this stuff for the last few decades,” he said. “Even while watching his allies, the leaders of his allies. It is therefore the greatest threat to the world.
The Canadian government has delayed its decision on Huawei because China had until recently jailed two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, in what was widely seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of the Huawei leader. , Meng Wanzhou.
But a decision is now expected after the release of the two Michael in September after more than 1,000 days in Chinese prison. Their release came after US authorities dropped their charges against Meng over allegations of fraud.
Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne signaled that the government could reject Huawei as a 5G supplier when he told The Canadian Press last month that the government only wanted to deal with “partners of confidence ”in future artificial intelligence companies.
The fifth generation – or 5G – internet will rely on artificially intelligent cloud-based computing that is expected to transform everyday life, enabling self-driving cars and automated medical care, including surgery, among others.
Cong, who insisted that this was a private enterprise and not a branch of the Chinese government, as some have claimed, said he hoped that Canada “would stand alone and “would not listen to the opinion of the United States.”
He added that the decision on Huawei should be based on business, not national security, and warned that Huawei’s rejection could hurt Canada’s position among foreign investors as a welcoming business environment.
While Huawei dominated part of the discussion on China-Canada relations, Cong also touched on another increasingly sensitive topic by warning Canadian officials against any move towards Taiwan.
The Chinese government considers island democracy a rogue province and there have been growing concerns in recent weeks and months that Beijing will launch an invasion that draws in the United States and its allies.
Canada has long subscribed to the so-called one-China policy, which states that there is only one Chinese government, does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country and therefore does not involve official diplomatic relations with Taipei.
In his remarks, Cong said his government hopes Canada “will continue to honor the one-China principle and ensure that you are not engaged in official contacts with Taiwan.”
He also criticized the US government’s announcement of a “diplomatic boycott” of the February Winter Olympics in Beijing over China’s human rights records, including its treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.
The ambassador has repeatedly described the allegations that China is engaged in genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang province as “the lie of the century” and accused the United States of politicizing sport with its plan not to send delegation to the Olympics.