Senators urge Canada against using Huawei in 5G development due to national security concerns

Senators urge Canada against using Huawei in 5G development due to national security concerns
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A bipartisan pair of senators are urging Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau not to incorporate Chinese telecommunications company Huawei in its ongoing 5G network development, warning that doing so could have national security implications for Canada, the U.S. and other allies.

Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerFacebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach New intel chief inherits host of challenges Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces MORE (D-Va.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE (R-FL), a member of the intelligence panel, in a letter on Friday told Trudeau that Huawei's involvement in 5G development could seriously damage the relationship between U.S. and Canadian carriers.

Doing so, they warned, would also hurt efforts to rapidly build out 5G, which has been touted as an upgrade to current mobile internet service. 

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“We write with grave concerns about the possibility that Canada might include Huawei Technologies or any other Chinese state-directed telecommunications company in its fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications network infrastructure,” the senators wrote.

“There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party — and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a ‘national champion,’ is no exception.”

Their letter comes after Scott Jones, the top designee of the Canadian Center for Cyber Security, told the House of Commons late last month that it was not necessary to ban Huawei, pointing to Canada's "very advanced relationship with our telecommunications providers."

However, the senators said this decision runs counter to the assessments made by the other members of the Five Eyes allies, which is made up of the U.S., the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Warner and Rubio, who noted there had been a pushback from other three senior Canadian national security officials, emphasized that working with Huawei would not only impact Canada, but would also have national security implications on the other Five Eyes members.

“[T]he strong alignment between the United States and Canada in spectrum management has meant that American and Canadian carriers in many cases share complementary spectrum holdings, jointly benefiting from economies of scale for equipment designed for regionally harmonized frequencies,” they wrote.

“The entry of suppliers such as Huawei into the Canadian market could seriously jeopardize this dynamic, depriving both Canadian and American operators of the scale needed to rapidly build out 5G networks.”

The lawmakers recommended that Canada reach out to the U.S. intelligence community if they would like additional information on the national security threat.

This letter comes after lawmakers repeatedly and fiercely warned earlier this year against the U.S. using products from Chinese tech giants like Huawei and ZTE, citing national security concerns.