MUNICH (Reuters) - The United States is seeking to rally European support for competitors to Huawei Technologies following disappointment in Washington over Britain’s decision to use 5G equipment made by the Chinese company.
U.S. officials at a global security conference in Germany this week urged governments and business leaders to build an ecosystem of “industry champions” that can provide alternatives to Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of mobile networking equipment.
Previous U.S. efforts to convince allies to bar the Chinese company from their networks have primarily focused on warnings that its equipment could be used by China for spying.
Huawei has repeatedly and vehemently denied the espionage allegations. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Reuters on Friday there was no credible evidence that Huawei was a threat to U.S. security.
Speaking on Saturday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told the Munich Security Conference that Washington was already working with vendors to develop and test new 5G technologies.
“We are encouraging allied and U.S. tech companies to develop alternative 5G solutions and we are working alongside them to test these technologies at our military bases as we speak,” Esper said.
The United States has used high-profile events in recent years to raise security concerns about Huawei equipment, warning that allies that use it in their networks risked being cut off from valuable intelligence-sharing feeds.
Officials in Munich repeated those concerns but also struck a softer tone, emphasizing the need to work with Huawei competitors to support their market position. They stopped short, however, of detailing any concrete plans or measures.