Ramaphosa says US is just ‘jealous’ of Huawei

Staff Writer | Jul 07, 2019
President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the controversial Chinese telecoms company, saying it is the key to taking SA and the world forward.

Ramaphosa chose the inaugural 4th Industrial Revolution SA – Digital Economy Summit in Midrand on Friday to round on the United States for its hostility towards Huawei.

The president said: ‘The United States has been unable to imagine a better future which goes beyond 4 plus 1G, where they have been unable to imagine what 5G can offer, and where now clearly they are jealous.

‘They are jealous that a Chinese company called Huawei has outstripped them. And because they have been outstripped they must now punish that one company and use it as a pawn in the fight that they have with China.’

Ramaphosa referred to a letter he said he had received from local telecoms companies saying the tussle between China and the US over Huawei was hurting SA.

He said the companies had told him they ‘want to go to 5G and only this company Huawei can lead us to 5G and the United States is now punishing them. We have to say we support the company that is going to take our country and indeed the world to better technologies and this is 5G [...] because we cannot afford to have our own economy held back.’

Ramaphosa welcomed the fact that, at the recent G20 summit in Japan, China and the US met and the US said it would relax some of the constraints imposed on Huawei.

Huawei is the world's leading telecom supplier and second-largest phone manufacturer. Several countries, not just the US, have been wary of Huawei. In 2012, the US was concerned that Huawei, founded by Ren Zhengfei whose career had been in the military, was too close to the Chinese government.

Since 2012, US intelligence agencies have warned that Huawei poses a potential security risk. Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany have reviewed their relationship with Huawei, specifically in regard to its technology being used in new ‘fifth generation 5G’ mobile internet networks.

The Chinese funded and built the African Union’s (AU) $200 million headquarters, which opened in 2012. Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news agency, described the complex as ‘not only a new landmark in Addis Ababa but also the latest landmark in the long friendship between China and Africa’.

However, in January of 2017, a computer scientist discovered that every day between midnight and 2am, AU servers were sending large volumes of data to an outside location. The AU’s internal secrets were specifically routed to servers in Shanghai. This had been occurring every night from January 2012 to January 2017.

Huawei was at the centre of the controversy, as it had supplied the equipment, configured the servers and trained the staff at the AU.

Currently, the first US indictment against Huawei alleges that it misled the US and a global bank about its relationship with two subsidiaries, Huawei Device USA and Skycom Tech, in order to conduct business with Iran in breach of sanctions against the Persian State. The indictment contains 23 counts of alleged theft of intellectual property, obstruction of justice, and fraud.

The second indictment alleges Huawei stole technology from phone company T-Mobile used to test smartphone durability, as well as obstructed justice and committed wire fraud.


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