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Thursday, May 16, 2019, 09:26
Huawei offers to sign 'no-spy' pacts
By Wang Mingjie in London
Thursday, May 16, 2019, 09:26 By Wang Mingjie in London

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is willing to sign no-spying agreements with governments, including the United Kingdom's, according to the company's chairman. He made the offer after concerns were raised that the company's equipment could be used for surveillance.

Speaking on a visit to London, Liang Hua said: "We are willing to sign no-spy agreements with governments, including the UK government, to commit ourselves to making our equipment meet the no-spy, no-backdoors standard."

Huawei is a global leader in information and communications technology solutions. Some governments, though, have expressed concern about the company's involvement in their 5G networks over fears that it could install spyware and act on behalf of China's government. Huawei has repeatedly denied such claims.

We are willing to sign no-spy agreements with governments, including the UK government, to commit ourselves to making our equipment meet the no-spy, no-backdoors standard.

Liang Hua, Huawei chairman

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The United States has been actively pressuring other countries not to use Huawei's 5G networks and has called the technology "untrustworthy". And Reuters news agency has reported that US President Donald Trump will sign an executive order this week to prohibit US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by the company.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today program, Tim Watkins, Huawei's vice-president for western Europe, said: "Our founder, Mr Ren (Zhengfei), has made it clear that he has never been asked to hand over any customer data or information and he has made it clear that, if asked, he would refuse and, if it was attempted to be enforced, he would shut the company down."

A limited role

The British government is due to reveal in a review of the country's telecommunications infrastructure whether it plans to allow Huawei to participate in the building of the United Kingdom's 5G network.

Early this month, leaked information from a meeting of the UK's National Security Council indicated the British government plans to allow Huawei to have a limited role in building the country's 5G network.

Shortly after the story was leaked, Prime Minister Theresa May sacked Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson for allegedly leaking the information, a charge Williamson strongly denied.

On Tuesday, Vodafone announced it will go live in the UK with its 5G network, relying on Huawei, in part, to provide the service.

An independent study by the global advisory company Oxford Economics shows Huawei supports more than 26,000 UK jobs, either directly or through its supply chain.

The report shows the company stimulated a 1.7-billion-pound (US$2.19 billion) contribution to the UK's GDP in 2018.

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And it invested 112 million pounds last year in the UK on research and development, also employing more than 300 researchers in the UK. In addition, it collaborated with 35 universities and research institutes, according to the report.

The independent study was unveiled at Huawei's 2019 UK Partner Summit.

Jerry Wang, Huawei UK CEO, said the "findings prove Huawei's value and contribution to the UK economy".


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