German minister warns of ‘arbitrary decisions’ after Huawei talks

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Shanghai – German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has warned against “arbitrary decisions’’ in the controversy over whether technology from Huawei should be used in the construction of his country’s high-speed 5G internet network.

Huawei is a Chinese telecoms giant.

In a market economy, all companies should be able to count on being treated in accordance with laws and regulations, Altmaier said on Friday after meeting Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei in Shanghai.

It was a “very factual conversation’’ that allowed the two sides to exchange information, the minister said during a discussion with students at Tongji University.

“I consider this to be a completely normal process,’’ he said.

Against the backdrop of the U.S.-China trade war, Washington is pressuring allies, including Germany, to exclude Huawei from helping to build up their 5G network infrastructure.

Washington claims Huawei technology could be abused for espionage by Beijing and has threatened to scale back intelligence-sharing with security partners who use the company.

How proceeds could a precedent for other countries. Friday’s meeting was requested by Huawei.

In his discussion with the students, Altmaier underlined the need for a reliable and safe mobile network.

Companies that have submitted bids for ’s 5G technology only be allowed to install components with security certificates, he said.

The minister stressed that “the safety of telecommunications in Germany, the protection of citizens’ data and the certainty of German law being adhered to’’ are key.

Decisions not be political, but taken on the basis of “clear security criteria through the certification of hardware and software,’’ he added.