Chinese minister calls for tech rules deal amid Huawei spy claims
China has called on governments to “join hands” and agree a set of rules governing how new technologies can be used, amid a growing controversy over telecoms giant Huawei.
Wang Zhigang, the Chinese minister for science and technology, called for a “friendlier market” and for nations to come together to address questions thrown up by advances in digital technologies, including in the area of national security.
His comments at the World Government Summit in Dubai came as the Chinese company Huawei, which is allegedly used by the Communist government to spy on other nations, is coming under increased scrutiny.
Huaweihas been accused of stealing trade secrets in the US - which it denies - and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is under house arrest in Canada.
Germany recently became the latest country to say it is considering blocking Huawei from its 5G next generation mobile network, despite the firm’s insistence that it is independent of government.
Mr Wang insisted that he believed “it is imperative to respect national sovereignty” and that no government should seek “technological hegemony”.
He said that confronted by new challenges and new problems, "all countries around the world should join hands to build together a governance framework featured by responsible innovation, to provide for a more friendly, open and inclusive market".
“We need to uphold the security of all mankind, explore the adoption of relevant rules and standards in a phased way, while leaving broad space for scientific discovery and technological innovation,” said the minister, who is also special envoy for Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mr Wang, also spoke about Chinese commitment to further research and development, which he said had the potential to transform the country’s manufacturing sector, in particular.
The minister did not directly address the controversy over Huawei, the second biggest smartphone maker in the world which supplies infrastructure services for communications systems across the globe, by name. Other countries to place restrictions on the company include New Zealand and Australia.
However, the security fears about the company were raised in the previous session, with Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
He was asked whether he shared concerns of the US government about Huawei.
According to US media reports, US President Donald Trump is preparing to sign an executive order banning Chinese telecom equipment from US wireless networks within days.
“We should all be mindful of the concerns,” Mr Gurria said.
“Clearly, when we’re talking about the progress of technology, we should be mindful of the fact that any technology that is adopted by a particular country in order to develop its 5G, of course, should be respectful of the content and should respect the privacy and security.
“Any company or any country that would be promoting that would not be the case, of course there should be a barrier, a way to protect the rest of the world.
"The only question is that if you simply draw a red line... how many wasted opportunities are there?"
Updated: February 11, 2019 02:17 PM