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Ottawa says it won’t be ‘deterred from making the right decision’ on Huawei 5G networks

Ottawa says it won’t be ‘deterred from making the right decision’ on Huawei 5G networks
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SHERBROOKE, QUE—Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the federal government won’t be “deterred” as it considers whether to allow Huawei access to 5G networks, pushing back on an implied threat from China that Canada would face economic reprisals if the technology firm is blocked.

Goodale said Friday that the government continues to examine the security and technical considerations around 5G networks, the next generation of wireless technology, but offered no timeline when to expect a decision.

But he said the coming decision would be based on “Canada’s national interest” and not pressure from Beijing.

Canada Huawei 5G decision said to be months away

“We’ve made it abundantly clear that we will not compromise national security,” Goodale told reporters at the Liberal’s cabinet retreat.

Chinese Ambassador Lu Shaye said Thursday that if Huawei is banned when there is “no evidence” to justify any security concerns, there will be “repercussions” for the bilateral relationship. He said he was unsure what those would be.

Asked Thursday for his reaction, Goodale sought to downplay the warning of economic punishment.

“We understand that those sorts of comments will be made in the process but we will make our judgment based on what’s right for Canada and not be deterred from making the right decision,” he said.

“It’s a tough decision-making process but you can’t shrink from the challenges,” Goodale said.

Other countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, have banned Huawei from their 5G infrastructure, citing national security concerns that the firm could be exploited for espionage by the Chinese government.

“Other countries have obviously made their views known and their views are important to us. We will weigh all of that very carefully in the decision,” he said.

“Ultimately this decision has to be made in the best interests of Canada,” he said.

A negative decision could further complicate already frosty relations between Canada and China.

Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant has angered Chinese authorities. China has since detained two Canadians and a third Canadian has seen a 15-year jail term for drug smuggling turned into a death sentence.

Lu, the Chinese ambassador, told reporters in Ottawa Thursday that Meng’s detention was a “politically motivated” act in violation of international law norms.
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