Germany will not freeze Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies out its 5G buildup, defying a Washington-led crusade against the company over its alleged ties with Chinese intelligence.
"No, we will not want to exclude any company," German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in a televised interview on Wednesday, when asked if the government plans to shut Huawei out from the upcoming auction of fifth-generation mobile licences.
Germany's Federal Network Agency earlier in the day published tougher security guidelines for telecom providers, which require suppliers of 5G networks to be "trustworthy".
The guidelines also stipulate that networks should use components from several manufacturers; the agency said that these rules would apply to all vendors equally, failing to single out Huawei Technologies.
This comes following months of discussions over whether Huawei should be involved in Germany's future 5G infrastructure following allegations of espionage brought by the United States and its allies such as Japan and Australia.
Washington claims that Huawei — the world's biggest telecoms gear supplier — has been stealing commercial information and spying on the behalf of the Chinese government. The US has also been lobbying its European allies to impose formal bans on Huawei products when it comes to building up the next generation of wireless mobile networks.
The company vehemently denies these accusations and says that it sees no rational reason why it should be restricted from building 5G infrastructure in any country.
Some observers believe that these allegations are part of US efforts to squeeze China out of Western markets and force Beijing into making concessions amid the Sino-American trade talks.
On Thursday, the Chinese company filed a lawsuit against the US government, claiming that a US ban on federal agencies purchasing its equipment was unconstitutional.
Previously, top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver last December at the behest of the US, reportedly on suspicions of conspiring to violate US sanctions against Iran. The arrest was denounced by both Huawei and Beijing; Chinese authorities demanded that Canada immediately release the Chinese national. Meanwhile, Huawei insisted that Wanzhou has done nothing illegal.
A lawyer for the executive, who is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, said that he had concerns about the "political character" of her case.