Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip to Brussels on 18 March included a public rebuke of the EU for what he described as “abnormal and immoral” attacks against telecom giant Huawei, which has drawn the attention of the United States for the company’s potential security risk due to its alleged ties to Chinese intelligence.
The accusations that Huawei is connected to China’s spy agencies has led Washington and many in the EU to worry that allowing Huawei to take part in the development of 5G technology could emerge as a major security threat for the NATO alliance. These concerns have, in recent months, become louder and have included calls for a full ban on Chinese telecom companies.
Responding to these accusations, Wang demanding a “fair and equitable competition environment” for Chinese companies during his meeting with the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.
“China hopes that all countries will create an environment for fair and equitable competition for businesses in all countries,” Wang said on Monday. “What we are opposed to are unfounded accusations for political ends and attempts to bring down a foreign company. We believe that such practices are abnormal, immoral, and lack the support of other countries,” he added, while also reminding those in attendance that Huawei has repeatedly denied allegations that its equipment could be used for espionage.
Beijing requires Chinese companies to help the government on national security issues, a move that has helped heightened the West’s suspicions that companies like Huawei are acting in consort with the MSS – China’s intelligence service..
Wang, however, urged Europe not to be influenced by Washington’s pressure, saying, “We hope and believe that European countries and other countries will make their own choice independently and will have their own judgment.”
Mogherini insisted that the European Commission’s recent 10-point publication on how the bloc could strengthen relations with Beijing is mainly of an informative nature and stressed that China and the EU are “global strategic partners”.
In response, Wang countered with his very own 10-point plan for China and the EU, including:
1. Both sides support multilateralism and oppose unilateral practices.
2. Both sides support the UN’s leading role in international affairs and safeguarding basic norms in international relations based on the purposes of the UN Charter.
3. Both sides support an open world economy and oppose protectionism.
4. Both sides support the rules-based multilateral trading system and the efforts to reform and enhance the World Trade Organization (WTO).
5. Both sides support the peaceful settlement of hotspot issues and regional disputes through dialogue and consultation.
6. Both sides support stronger international cooperation against climate change and other global challenges.
7. Both sides support the commitment to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and to maintaining strategic stability.
8. Both sides support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and commit to reducing inequalities and the North-South gap.
9. Both sides support the campaign against all forms of terrorism and taking holistic measures to contain the spread of extremism.
10. Both sides support the post-WWII international system and world order.