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EU risk report welcomed by Huawei

By CHEN WEIHUA in Brussels | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-10-10 17:41
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A logo of the upcoming mobile standard 5G is pictured at the Hanover trade fair, in Hanover, Germany, in March. [Photo/Agencies]

European Union member states on Wednesday published a risk assessment report on cybersecurity in 5G networks, highlighting potential risks that demand mitigation measures.

The assessment pointed out increased exposure to attacks and more potential points of attack in 5G networks. Major challenges include the role of suppliers in building and operating 5G networks, and the degree of dependency on individual suppliers.

Among various potential threat actors, it said non-EU states or state-backed entities are considered as the most serious ones and the most likely to target 5G networks.

By the end of the year, the EU hopes to have agreed a toolbox of measures to address the risks at both national and European levels. By the start of October 2020, member states should have taken these recommendations on board to determine whether further action is necessary but ultimately, final decisions on 5G networks will be made by individual countries.

European countries have come under great pressure from the United States to ban Chinese telecom equipment company Huawei from their 5G networks. Top US officials have repeatedly threatened not to share intelligence with European allies if they fail to comply but so far, most European countries have rejected a ban or blanket ban on Huawei.

With a deep footprint in Europe, Huawei is the world leader in 5G technology, and after reading the EU report, the company said it welcomed its findings.

"The successful and timely deployment of 5G networks in Europe will depend on the use of expertise and cutting-edge technology from around the globe," said a statement from the company.

"Our strong and continuing collaboration with our European partners is a unique opportunity for Europe to maintain its technology leadership," added the company, which claims to be a 100 percent private company wholly owned by its employees.

"As the EU moves from identifying risks towards elaborating the common security framework required to manage and mitigate these risks, we hope this work will continue to be guided by the same facts-based approach."

The company said it stands ready to work with European partners to help develop this framework and deliver safe and fast connectivity for Europe's future needs.

US President Donald Trump issued an executive order in May barring US companies from using information and communications technology from anyone considered a national security threat. On the same day, the US Commerce Department placed Huawei and 70 of its affiliates on the Entity List, a trade blacklist, without providing any evidence.

On Tuesday the Financial Times reported that the US is considering a subsidy package for Huawei's chief European rivals, Nokia and Ericsson, to make them more competitive against the Chinese telecom giant.

The report says that US officials have talked internally about implementing measures which could include lines of credit so that they are able to match Huawei's offer to its clients around the world. Another option is creating a pool of subsidies to incentivize companies such as Cisco to create 5G radio towers and other products that would compete against Huawei's portfolio.

Earlier, former director-general of the World Trade Organization and European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy told China Daily that the real concern is whether Huawei devices would allow the Chinese to spy, but he has exactly the same concern with Cisco.

"As a European, I don't like to be spied on by the Chinese, nor do I like to be spied by the Americans. But as long as I know it, I behave accordingly," he said.

A report in July by GSM, which represents the interests of 750 mobile operators, said a ban on buying telecoms equipment from Huawei and other Chinese companies would add about 55 billion euros ($60 billion) to the cost of 5G networks in Europe and delay the technology by about 18 months.

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