The US government has sent a third representative to Lisbon this week to warn against the perceived perils of using Huawei technology in Portugal’s 5G rollout.
Under secretary of State for cibernetic communications Robert Stayer repeated previous warnings by ambassador to Portugal George Glass (click here), and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (click here), over the US having no option but to ‘reevaluate’ its sharing of communication within NATO unless countries drop Huawei as a supplier of network equipment.
Stress reports today: “It’s not a threat, the Americans assure. But the message is clear”.
“We don’t want any reduction of the level of communication that we have in diverse areas (between the United States and Portugal). But the use of Huawei technology in 5G could affect our capacity for cooperative efforts”, Mr Stayer told sector regulator ANACOM as well as operators and members of the government and parliament yesterday (Tuesday).
Meeting journalists at the official residence of the American ambassador, Mr Stayer stressed: “We have to protect confidential information. We have to reevaluate how we interact with networks compromised by 5G technology of China and the Chinese Communist Party. This could alter the way we do business, with the government and with the private sector. I still don’t know what this will mean”.
The US has been relentless in efforts to dissuade European countries over the use of Huawei technology – even if its message has sometimes become confused. Ambassador Glass, for example, suggested last year that Chinese technology ‘wasn’t cutting edge’ at all (click here).
Up till now, however, Portugal has remained steadfast in its decision to retain limited use of Huawei technology (guided by Brussels) in the developing 5G rollout.
The United Kingdom too has refused to ban the Chinese telecoms company from its 5G programme.