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Huawei allegations driven by politics not evidence: ITU head says

The U.S. security concerns about Huawei’s 5G mobile networks appear to be driven by politics and trade rather than any evidence, Houlin Zhao, the head of the U.N. internet and telecoms agency, said on Friday.

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The security of 5G networks was in everybody’s interest but so far he had not seen anything to substantiate claims about Huawei, Houlin Zhao, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), told reporters in Geneva, reported by Reuters.

“Those preoccupations with Huawei’s equipment, up to now there is no proof so far,” Zhao said.

“I would encourage Huawei to be given equal opportunities to bid for business, and during the operational process, if you find anything wrong, then you can charge them and accuse them,” the Chinese-born Zhao said. “But if we don’t have anything then to put them on the blacklist – I think this is not fair.”



Zhao added that it is up to telecoms companies to ensure that they were using secure hardware because otherwise, they could face a challenge by national authorities or a public backlash against using their services.

“So it’s their first concern, their first target, to make sure that the systems they use in the market will provide service satisfaction to them.”

The International Telecommunication Union will hold a meeting to finalize standards for the 5G spectrum in October, but concerns about Huawei will not slow down that process, Zhao said.

“Up to now we don’t have any proposal from anybody on 5G security concerns there,” Zhao said.

The ITU also has a study group. It includes an official from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as well as an official from Chinese telecoms firm ZTE Corp. The ITU national experts look into security.

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