Canada is set to ban China’s Huawei and ZTE from providing and operating the country’s 5G tech infrastructure.
The move to restrict two of China’s biggest telecoms manufacturers was announced by industry minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on Thursday, who said that the move will improve Canada’s mobile internet services and “protect the safety and security of Canadians.”
Huawei Canada expressed disappointment with the decision, calling it “political.”
"This is an unfortunate political decision that has nothing to do with cyber security or any of the technologies in question," the company stated.
ZTE released a similar statement, insisting that the company has “always abided by international standards and best practices, opening up our cyber security labs to enable regulators and stakeholders to verify the security of ZTE products,” rejecting Canada’s reason for banning the company as “highly speculative.”
The move to ban Huawei and ZTE comes after several other countries including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have placed restrictions on the firms. Alongside Canada, all five nations make up the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance.
Speaking to the press, Champagne said that the move came following a review by the country’s security agencies and consultation with its international allies, BBC reported.
“Let me be very clear: We will always protect the safety and security of Canadians and will take any actions necessary to safeguard our telecommunication infrastructure,” he said. “In a 5G world, at a time where we rely more and more in our daily lives [on] our network, this is the right decision.”
China’s embassy to Canada denounced the move, stating its intent to pursue legal action over the ban. An embassy spokesperson said that the Chinese government will take “all necessary measures” to protect the legal rights of the Chinese telecoms companies.
“The Chinese side expresses its grave concerns and strong dissatisfaction to this,” the Chinese spokesperson said in a written statement, True North reported. “I want to emphasize that the erroneous actions of the Canadian side will certainly harm Canada’s own interests and international image.”
“China will evaluate this development in a comprehensive and serious manner and take all necessary measures to protect the legitimate and legal rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.”