Huawei ready to tackle extra security to stay in 5G kit race

WARSAW (Reuters) - Chinese tech giant Huawei is ready to face any extra security measures required to remain in the race to develop next-generation 5G networks in central and eastern Europe, Andy Purdy, chief security officer at Huawei Technologies USA, said.

FILE PHOTO: A 3-D printed Huawei logo is seen in front of displayed 5G words in this illustration taken February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned allies against using Huawei equipment this week during a trip to the region, saying it would make it more difficult for Washington to “partner alongside them”.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence joined Pompeo on Wednesday on a trip to Poland, whose government is considering excluding Huawei from its future 5G network over concerns raised by the United States that the Chinese firm’s technology could be used for spying, sources told Reuters in January.

“The U.S. government is very persistent, very determined and very forceful in communicating the messages about Huawei,” Purdy told Reuters on Wednesday.

Huawei was ready to work with governments on any additional measures, such as testing the source codes for products, which could be applied to all suppliers, Purdy said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying hit back at Pompeo’s remarks on Wednesday, saying the United States was using its state power to suppress Chinese companies’ legitimate development rights and interests, according to a report by Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

Meanwhile in Germany, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has backed a proposal to reform the country’s telecommunications law to toughen security requirements on foreign network vendors, the RND group of newspapers reported on Tuesday.

Seehofer’s intervention increases the likelihood that Germany will tighten oversight over Huawei, sidestepping pressure from the United States to exclude it.

Government and industry leaders want clarity on the ground rules before Germany embarks on the build out of 5G mobile networks by auctioning spectrum in late March.

Purdy said Huawei would play the long game in Poland.

“If the government decides to ban us from 5G we will continue to take a long view of the potential sales of our products in Poland over time ... we believe that some day in the future we’ll be allowed to compete for that business if we’re not allowed to compete for it now,” he added.

Poland arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a former Polish security official in January on spying allegations. Huawei said the next day that the employee had been fired.

Reporting by Anna Koper and Janis Laizans; Additional Reporting by Supriya Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty