China’s 5G market was open to international telecoms firms, including Nokia and Ericsson, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when asked about possible reprisal if Chinese companies were excluded from next-generation networks in Europe.
“The companies have already won bids for some projects in China,” said Wang Wenbin, the foreign ministry spokesman, during Tuesday’s regular press conference in Beijing.
“We oppose certain countries’ generalisation of the concept of national security in banning specific companies from specific countries.”
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Wang was answering a question about a news report that said China was considering retaliation against the two European companies if European Union members followed the lead of Britain and the United States in barring China’s telecoms giant Huawei from 5G networks.
The report by The Wall Street Journal cited anonymous sources and said the Chinese Ministry’s of Commerce was considering export controls that would prevent Nokia and Ericsson from sending products made in China abroad.
Wang said the article was “fake news” and “aimed at provoking the cooperative ties between China and Europe”. But Wang said he expected European countries to do the same for Chinese telecoms companies.
“We hope European countries could also provide Chinese companies with a business environment that’s fair, open and indiscriminate,” he said.
Last year, Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia were given 34 per cent and 12 per cent of the MME/SGSN equipment orders. MME/SGSN and SAE-GW/GGSN are two types of core network equipment needed for the operation of ultra-fast 5G networks.
The two northern European firms were given 34 per cent and 9 per cent of the SAE-GW/GGSN orders respectively by China Mobile, the country’s largest telecoms operator.
London last week announced that Huawei Technologies would be banned from Britain’s next-generation mobile networks, reversing a position set by the Boris Johnson government less than six months ago.
Last week, the US Federal Communications Commission began the process of drawing up a list of telecoms equipment deemed to pose a security risk as the agency continued efforts to limit the reach of Huawei and ZTE, a telecoms equipment and systems company with headquarters in Shenzhen in southern China.
The Trump administration has also pressed US allies to exclude Huawei equipment from next-generation fast 5G networks being built. US officials say Huawei’s network equipment could be used for spying – an allegation the company has contested.
But despite intense pressure from the US, the European Union has stopped short of imposing a blanket ban on Huawei and other 5G Chinese suppliers.
In a set of commonly agreed guidelines released in January on how to mitigate risks from the roll-out of next-generation telecoms networks, the EU said companies based in non-democratic countries could be excluded from the procurement of certain core components, following assessments by security agencies.
The decisions are thus left to individual member states.
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This article If Nokia and Ericsson can operate in China, our firms should be treated fairly in Europe, Beijing says first appeared on South China Morning Post