Biden administration doubles down on tough Huawei line

The Biden administration will work to safeguard American telecoms networks from “untrusted vendors” like Huawei that that threaten national security, the White House said on Wednesday in a continuing bid to avoid seeming weak on China

Biden administration doubles down on tough Huawei line
The Biden administration is keen to avoid seeming to make concessions that help Huawei. Image:Reuters

(ATF) President Biden’s administration continued its attempt to head off critics who think it may weaken the tough US line against China, when it criticized Huawei as a national security threat on Wednesday January 27.

“Telecommunications equipment made by untrusted vendors, including Huawei, is a threat to the security of the US and our allies,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in a daily briefing.

“We’ll ensure that the American telecommunications network... do(es) not use equipment from untrusted vendors and we’ll work with allies to secure their telecommunications networks and make investments to expand production of telecommunications equipment by trusted US and allied companies,” she said.

Huawei declined to comment and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Questions have swirled about how Democratic President Joe Biden will handle Huawei. The company has been accused by Washington of being capable of spying on customers, as well as intellectual property theft and sanctions violations. Huawei has denied wrongdoing.

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump placed the company on a trade blacklist and led a global campaign to convince allies to exclude it from their networks.

The Biden administration remarks come after Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo, Biden’s nominee to head the Commerce Department, raised red flags among some China hardliners in Washington on Tuesday by refusing to commit to keeping Huawei on the economic blacklist overseen by the agency.

Delay confirmation of Raimondo: hardliner

Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, a China hardliner with no role in the confirmation proceedings, called on the Senate on Wednesday to put a freeze on the Raimondo process until the Biden administration gives a clear answer on whether it plans to keep Huawei on the blacklist.

“We need a Commerce Department with strong national security credentials and a Secretary with a clear understanding of the (Chinese) threat,” he said in a statement.

“Until they make their intentions clear on whether they will keep Huawei on the entity list, I urge my Senate colleagues to hold Ms. Raimondo’s confirmation.”

The Senate Commerce Committee said on Wednesday that it will vote on Raimondo’s nomination on February 3.

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