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The CEO of Chinese telecoms giant, Huawei, has rejected claims that the company is used by the Chinese government for espionage. Ren Zhengfei, whose daughter, also the Huawei CFO is currently being held in Canada on a US extradition request, made the comment to reports in a rare interview on Tuesday.
He said that while he supports the Chinese Communist party he would, quote, never do anything to harm another country. The comments come after months of pressure on Huawei over US-led allegations the company's technology maybe giving Chinese spies access to Western telecoms networks. And as Reuters Breakingviews columnist, Chris Beddor explains, that pressure's only likely to increase as the world moves towards the next generation of mobile technology or 5G.
>> So part of the concern does center on 5G and specifically the carriers build out. So the concern is that Huawei kit might, either now or at some point in the future, come with some sort of back door, which again, the company has consistently denied. And especially with 5G, because it's not just another iteration of telecom's equipment and technology.
Potentially, it could include things like the Internet of Things, a lot more connected devices than in the past. And so it does raise pretty profound questions about where technology is heading, and then do we feel comfortable with a Chinese company being heavily involved in that process.>> In the interview Ren also said that Beijing doesn't even own even $0.01 of Huawei, but it might take more than declarations of innocence from an executive to remove the cloud of suspicion hanging over the firm.
>> I don't think the strategy is very likely to work. The suspicions about Huawei, especially within the US government, have been building for nearly a decade now. Once you have those kind of deep, underlying suspicions, especially about fundamental issues, it's possible that even if the company where to go on some sort of radical transparency overhaul, that even then it wouldn't be enough.
>> No evidence has so far been produced by the US to prove the allegations against Huawei, and the company has repeatedly denied involvement in any Chinese espionage.