US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced hope Friday that countries will find new reason to reject Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei after watching Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
“I am very confident that… this moment, where the Chinese Communist Party failed to be transparent and open and handle data in an appropriate way, will cause many, many countries to rethink what they were doing with respect to their telecom architecture,” Pompeo told Fox Business in an interview.
“When Huawei comes knocking to sell them equipment and hardware,” Pompeo said, he hoped “that they will have a different prism through which to view that decision.”
Pompeo did not name countries but he has had little success persuading even close US allies to reject Huawei, despite warnings that the United States would cut intelligence sharing.
Both Britain and the European Union earlier this year said they would allow a limited role for Huawei in building their fifth-generation internet networks.
Washington has banned Huawei from the roll-out of 5G because of concerns that the firm would be under the thumb of Beijing, which could allegedly exert vast leverage and access sensitive data.
US allies have increasingly agreed with Washington’s assessment that China was not transparent about the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, which originated in Wuhan and has killed more than 145,000 people around the world.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said this week there would be no more “business as usual” with China after the pandemic.
Chinese authorities initially sought to suppress news of the outbreak, including by reprimanding a doctor who warned of the virus in December.
Beijing denies that Huawei works at its behest, and the company has already made vast inroads around the world through its advanced 5G capabilities and competitive pricing.