January 14, 2019 / 9:39 AM / a month ago

China says countries should end 'fabrications' about Huawei

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Monday urged countries to end “fabrications” about Huawei, after an official in Poland said his country could limit the use of the company’s products by public entities following the arrest of a Huawei employee there on spying allegations.

FILE PHOTO: Attendees pass by a Huawei booth during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with China’s government and U.S.-led allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for espionage.

No evidence has been produced publicly and Huawei [HWT.UL] has repeatedly denied the accusations, but several Western countries have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets.

Poland arrested a Chinese Huawei employee and a former Polish security official on spying allegations on Friday, officials and sources told Reuters.

A Polish government official responsible for cyber security, Karol Okonski, told Reuters on Sunday that “abrupt” policy changes toward Huawei were not warranted after the arrests, but that the use of the company’s products by state entities could be reviewed.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, responding to the remarks at a regular news briefing in Beijing, said China hoped the Polish side would work to create mutual trust and maintain relations.

Hua said “some people” seek to use groundless accusations about security threats to “suppress and restrict Chinese technology companies’ development abroad”.

“We urge relevant parties to cease the groundless fabrications and unreasonable restrictions toward Huawei and other Chinese companies, and create a fair, good and just environment for mutual investment and normal cooperation by both sides’ companies,” Hua said.

“Using security reasons to hype, obstruct or restrict normal cooperation between companies in the end will only hurt one’s own interests,” she added.

Seeking to distance itself from the incident, Huawei said on Saturday it had sacked the employee arrested in Poland, Wang Weijing, adding that his “alleged actions have no relation to the company.”

A LinkedIn profile for Wang showed he has worked for Huawei’s Polish division since 2011, and previously served as attache to the Chinese General Consul in Gdansk from 2006-2011.

A spokesman for the Polish security services said that the allegations related to individual actions, and were not linked directly to Huawei.

Poland’s internal affairs minister, Joachim Brudzinski, has called for the European Union and NATO to work on a joint position over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets.

In August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill that barred the U.S. government from using Huawei equipment and is considering an executive order that would also ban U.S. companies from doing so.

Australia and New Zealand have also blocked it from building 5G networks amid concerns of its possible links with Beijing.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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