Poland 'faces 5G delay' by 2&3 years without Huawei: envoy

By Chen Qingqing in Warsaw Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/11 20:16:05

Ambassador says security discussions should be based on facts

Chinese Ambassador to Poland Liu Guangyuan speaks to the Global Times in a recent interview in Warsaw. Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

Poland will see its 5G network construction process delayed by two to three years if the country bars China's Huawei Technologies from participating in the build-out of 5G networks, Chinese Ambassador to Poland Liu Guangyuan told the Global Times in a recent interview.

"The Polish telecoms industry has developed rapidly thanks to Huawei Technologies and other companies. As the Chinese company is in the leading position in the 5G sector with both technology and cost advantages, it is the best partner for European countries in embracing the 5G era," he said.  

Poland, along with other Central and Eastern European countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, are a major focus for the US government, as it is concerned the presence of the Chinese company would weaken US engagement in the region, media reported in February. 

Huawei has been operating in the country since 2004. Since 2008, Warsaw has been the company's headquarters for the Central and Eastern Europe and Scandinavian regions, according to the company's website. 

"Huawei has more than 900 staff members in Poland, and two-thirds were locally hired. Its development in the Polish market has become the best example for China-Poland reciprocal relations," Liu said.

If Poland abandons Huawei, it will cost 8.5 billion euros ($9.6 billion) in losses to the Polish economy, and the communication cost for Polish people will more than double, the ambassador noted. "The 5G network construction process will be delayed by two to three years," he added.

T-Mobile Poland, owned by Deutsche Telekom, launched a commercial 5G network in Warsaw at the end of 2018, using technology from Huawei, the Xinhua News Agency reported on February 21. 

Andreas Maierhofer, the T-Mobile Poland CEO, also said that excluding a market leader like Huawei will bring some difficulties and even delay the entire network's growth, the report said. 

While the Polish government is still considering whether to follow the steps of the US in rejecting Huawei for security reasons, the company is ready to work with the Polish government on additional steps to build trust, Andy Purdy, chief security officer at Huawei Technologies US, was quoted as saying in a Reuters report in February. 

"In fact, Huawei poses no risk to Poland, and network security is a technical question, not a political question," Liu said. "The discussion of network security should be based on facts. Over the past 15 years of operation in Poland, Huawei has never seen one security incident occur."

As some have cited China's National Intelligence Law when talking about Huawei's alleged backdoor issue, it must be emphasized that no law in China requires any company to install mandatory backdoors, and no such backdoors on Huawei's equipment have been found, the ambassador said.

He added that China's National Intelligence Law was enacted in accordance with the nation's Constitution. It aims to strengthen China's national intelligence system and safeguard China's national security and interests, instead of infringing on other countries' security and interests. "We should not interpret the obligation of supporting the country as an obligation of Chinese companies to unconditionally assume an offensive stance, which runs against the original intent and purpose of this legislation," the ambassador noted. 

"It should be interpreted comprehensively and accurately, without being taken out of context. Maintaining national security in the form of legislation is an international practice, and countries including the US and Europe all have similar laws or regulations."

Europe should not politicize the issue and make a security excuse, which will send wrong signals to the outside world. China and Europe should provide a fair and just environment for cooperation in all fields, including science and technology, to boost the healthy and sustainable development of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, Lu Kang, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Monday as commenting on European Parliament's upcoming vote on Tuesday on security threats connected with Chinese technological presence in the EU.  

China hopes its European counterparts will remain objective and rational, and continue to adhere to the concept of open cooperation that is free and fair, not engage in protectionism, Lu said. 


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