China warns Swedish firms of tit-for-tat action after Huawei ban

The Swedish telecoms regulator issued a ban yesterday that would require carriers to remove existing Huawei and ZTE equipment by 2025, citing national security concerns. — Reuters pic
The Swedish telecoms regulator issued a ban yesterday that would require carriers to remove existing Huawei and ZTE equipment by 2025, citing national security concerns. — Reuters pic

BEIJING, Oct 21 — China today told Sweden to reverse a ban on Chinese tech firms from its 5G network, warning of “negative impacts” if it did not.

The Swedish telecoms regulator issued a ban yesterday that would require carriers to remove existing Huawei and ZTE equipment by 2025, citing national security concerns.

Chinese telecoms companies have faced bans and heightened scrutiny in recent months over fears Beijing could use their overseas deals to spy on foreign citizens.

That has provoked a furious response from Beijing, which denies the allegations and says trumped-up security concerns are being used against its successful tech firms to hem them in for commercial reasons.

China’s foreign ministry said it was “strongly dissatisfied” with Sweden’s decision, accusing the Swedish government of “blatantly suppressing Chinese telecom companies and politicising normal economic cooperation.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urged Sweden to “correct its wrong decision” to avoid a “negative impact on China-Sweden economic and trade cooperation, and on the operations of Swedish companies in China.”

Sweden’s decision comes amid pressure from the United States on allies to cut Huawei from their internet infrastructure.

Britain banned mobile providers from using Huawei equipment in new 5G networks in July, while France has placed heavy restrictions on use of equipment from Huawei.

The ban has raised fears that China could retaliate against Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson, which has 5G contracts with all three major Chinese telecoms operators. — AFP

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