WASHINGTON (Sept. 21, 2020)—Over the past few years, the U.S. government has engaged in a series of actions designed to stifle economic interaction with the Chinese company Huawei, such as banning any of their products from being used in the rollout of American 5G networks.

In a new paper, R Street resident fellow of national security and cybersecurity Kathryn Waldron finds that excluding risky vendors, such as Huawei, is not enough to protect network security.

Waldron states: “The presence of Huawei equipment in the global 5G supply chain presents a potential threat to American national security as, without legitimate checks on the power of the Chinese Communist Party, there is no way to truly ascertain the independence of Chinese companies from the Chinese government. Thus far, the United States and some of its allies have attempted either full or partial bans to mitigate the risk associated with the presence of Huawei equipment. However, while both of these strategies may work in different ways in the short term, they are unlikely to effectively mitigate the cybersecurity risk associated with Huawei’s 5G equipment in the long run.”

The actions of the Chinese Communist Party prove that it is impossible to be truly neutral about a company’s country of origin. Alliances are crucial to mitigating risk within global systems, but we should not assume other actors, even traditional allies, will automatically follow U.S. global leadership.

Read the full paper, “Huawei and National Security: Lessons for 6G,” here.

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