Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he agrees with the United States that Canada and other western countries should ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei from their emerging 5G networks.
“My personal view is that that is something that western countries should be doing in terms of our own long-term security issues,” Harper said in an interview with Fox News.
While he was prime minister, Harper said his government was increasingly concerned “about the penetration of Huawei and ZTE,” another Chinese telecom company, into the telecommunication networks of democratic countries.
“These are organizations ultimately … tightly tied to Chinese security apparatus, and we think there is some serious issues there.”
Under Harper, Canada banned Huawei from bidding to build the government’s telecommunications and email network—a ban that still remains in place in the current government.
Huawei was founded by a former officer of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and is often cited as a source of threat to national security in the intelligence circles.
The company is very active in the development of 5G technology in Canada, partnering with universities and research centres. The majority of Canada’s allies in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, including the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, have banned Huawei from their 5G networks. In the UK—another Five Eyes member state, the BT Group telecom giant has said it will also not use Huawei in its 5G network.
Harper said he wouldn’t comment on the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested at the request of the United States in Vancouver on Dec. 1 for suspicion of fraud, saying the matter is before the courts.
Harper said it’s important for the west to not look at China as just an economic competitor, but as a “geopolitical rival.”
“[China] has made no secret of its desire to spread an alternate to western democratic norms, and I think that’s something that should concern us.”
He said while he may or may not agree with every aspect of Trump’s administration policies, he agrees with the administration’s pressure on China to play by the rules and not allow China to exploit trade relationships.
“We have a situation where the Chinese have wide-ranging access to our markets, our access to their markets is extremely limited,” Harper said, adding that the trade deficit has been making China more wealthy and causing loss of millions of jobs in North America.
“I think the United States has under long-term policy been essentially paying for the rise of an alternative rival, and this is simply unwise.”
Referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tactics to change trade relations with China such as imposing tariffs, Harper said that while it’s true that markets may be impacted by the trade war between the two countries, if the issue isn’t addressed now, it will get worse in the long-term.
“Frankly, we’ll get to the point in the long-term where China cannot be taken on, where it is determining the rules of global system in arbitrary ways that simply suits its own interests.”
From The Epoch Times