The European Union must take China’s national intelligence law into account when deciding on the construction of 5G networks in Europe, said EU Commissioner for Security, Julian King, on Friday.
The EU is currently working on a risk analysis of developing 5G networks with China, which will be completed in October.
“When we think about the overall security of products and supplies from different sources,” King told journalists on Friday. “In China, they have a national intelligence law that puts broad requirements on organisations to support and collaborate in national intelligence work. This is a particular legal legislative framework which is relevant,” he said.
China’s National Intelligence Law states that Chinese “organisations and citizens shall, in accordance with the law, support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work,” according to a classified document.
King, who said he had had meetings with China’s Ambassador to the EU, Zhang Ming, said there was no intention to single out Huawei simply because it is a Chinese company, though most experts continue to warn of the company’s alleged close links to China’s intelligence services.
“When the Chinese ambassador comes and talks to me about this, I say it’s not because we’re obsessive about China, we’re trying to develop a risk assessment across this market and if you have suppliers which are major suppliers, then they’re going to be a feature the discussion.”
According to Beijing’s dictate, the law obliges citizens and companies in China to fully cooperate in the gathering of information by the Chinese Communist Party. The law as added to the West’s suspicions about the use of equipment manufactured by Huawei, which has been under intense scrutiny from the US, Australia, and the UK, which has expressed concerns about the use of Chinese-made telecom equipment for the future 5G network.
Britain’s National Security Council assessed in April concluded that it would exclude Huawei from all tenders on critical parts of the 5G network, but to give it restricted access to less sensitive segments.
Based on the analysis carried out by its own security experts, the Dutch government announced earlier in July that Huawei would not be explicitly excluded from the 5G network in The Netherlands, though stricter requirements will be introduced for Dutch telecom networks, including the existing 3G and 4G networks,
The Chinese Communist Party has denied that it has any intention to spy on the West and has said any ban on its 5G suppliers is unfounded.