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Chinese Telecom Suppliers Huawei and ZTE Present Security Threat to US, Warns Congressional Panel


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October 12, 2012

Chinese Telecom Suppliers Huawei and ZTE Present Security Threat to US, Warns Congressional Panel

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

Chinese telecom equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE (News - Alert) have been under a security lens for some time now. On Monday, a House Intelligence Committee report, based on US Congressional panel investigations, said that the Chinese telecom equipment suppliers Huawei (News - Alert) and ZTE pose a national security threat. The report suggests that the two Chinese telecom giants may have association with China’s government and the military.

Consequently, the US panel says that Huawei and ZTE must be banned from any US mergers and acquisitions. In addition, the panel is asking US companies to stop doing any business with these suppliers.

As per BBC News, Huawei and ZTE have denied such accusations in front of the US panel in September. ZTE issued a statement on Monday, saying its equipment met all US standards and posed no threat. In a statement to China's Xinhua news agency, ZTE said, "ZTE has set an unprecedented standard for co-operation by any Chinese company with a congressional investigation," reported BBC News.

The BBC report quotes Huawei's vice-president, William Plummer, as saying, “the latest accusations were dangerous political distractions."

“The House Intelligence report is highly critical of the two Chinese firms and says, China has the means, opportunity and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes. Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems," asserts the US Intelligence report.

Per BBC report, the investigations conducted by the US panel were credible and that former and current employees of Huawei have accused the company bribery, corruption, discriminatory behavior and copyright infringement.

Speaking to CBS on Sunday, in the 60 minutes program, Republican committee chairman Mike Rogers (News - Alert) said, "If I were an American company today... and you are looking at Huawei, I would find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers' privacy, and you care about the national security of the United States of America."

The House Intelligence report is recommending government contractors not to use any Huawei or ZTE equipment or components. In addition, it is asking both the Chinese companies to become "more transparent and responsive to US legal obligations".

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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