US President Donald Trump has launched an unprecedented attack on Huawei, the telecommunications giant working on Malta’s 5G network and ‘Safe City’ project.
In the first of two dramatic moves, Trump issued an executive order declaring a “national emergency” against communication technology that “poses an unacceptable risk to national security”, that is interpreted as directly targeting the Chinese telecom company.
Huawei was then placed upon the Entity List, which means US-based companies must now apply for individual licenses to sell technology to the company.
The telecommunications company has come under increased global ties in recent months with suspicious over the increasingly close ties with the Chinese government coming under scrutiny.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO and the granddaughter of the company’s founder, was arrested in Canada over suspicions of breaking international sanctions late last year.
Many countries – including Malta – have issued plans to work with Huawei in light of their advanced and affordable technology, installing their communications and surveillance equipment across their countries.
The company will set up the controversial ‘Safe City’ surveillance system and has signed a memorandum of understanding to oversee its 5g testing in Malta.
The’ Safe City’ project will see the installation of high-definition CCTV cameras that will have the capacity of zooming right into facial detail and detect changes in the atmosphere that may indicate a crime.
Earlier this week, Malta Today quoted a high-ranking United States official as saying that the data of the ‘Safe City’ project could be transmitted back to Beijing.
Malta’s government has declined to interfere with the issue, instead maintaining that it enjoys a good working relationship with both the US and China.
Huawei has responded to the US measures by saying it was ready to engage with the US government to come up with measures to ensure the security of its products.
“Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the US lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of US companies and consumers,” Huawei said. “In addition, unreasonable restrictions will infringe upon Huawei’s rights and raise other serious legal issues.”
Australia and Japan have joined the US in banning Huawei, but Washington has failed to convince countries like the UK and Germany to do so.
What do you make of these latest updates?