WASHINGTON – The Trump administration warned the German government that the U.S. may not share intelligence with Germany if the country continues using Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei to build up its fifth generation cellular networks, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Allowing the participation of Huawei in Germany’s 5G project would mean the U.S. won’t be able to maintain the same level of cooperation with Germany’s security agencies, U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell wrote in a letter to Germany’s economic minister. The letter, which was dated March 8, is the first time the U.S. has warned an ally that it faces recriminations for associating with Huawei.
German government officials meanwhile, argue that they have seen little evidence suggesting Huawei would use its equipment to spy on its users. The country says it is willing to allow Huawei or any other foreign telecommunications company to bid on 5G networks provided they satisfy basic security protocols.
The U.S. will continue sharing intelligence with Berlin but not at the same level and not with the same degree of transparency, according to a senior State Department official. “The Americans will assume that everything we share with Germany will end up with the Chinese,” the official told TheWSJ, referring to what would happen if Germany continues dealing with Huawei.
The Department of Defense charged the Chinese telecommunications giant in January on several counts of fraud as U.S. President Donald Trump applies more pressure on China’s beleaguered economy. Officials accused executive Meng Wanzhou of bank fraud, wire fraud and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Meng, the CFO of Huawei and daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested in December in Vancouver by the Canadian Justice Department. China warned Canada in December that it faces “severe consequences” if officials don’t release the executive.
Trump meanwhile is pushing U.S. telecommunications companies to blow past China. “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard,” the president told his Twitter followers in February.