Diplomatic relations between China and the United States, to put it mildly, have been "intense" over the past few years. There have been the trade embargoes, collapsed talks, threats and counter-threats, but when one side sets out to hinder the economic profits and technological spread to be enjoyed by the other, that could be one step too far.
Huawei plans to take its push-back against the U.S government to a new level this week. The embattled Chinese tech company intends to file a lawsuit against the American government over a law that bans US federal agencies from buying Huawei products,
According to sources, Huawei's lawsuit would be hinged on the claim that the National Defense Authorisation Act violates the U.S Constitution by singling out a single individual or group for punishment without trial. The law, which was passed in August 2018, specifically forbids government agencies from using technology from Huawei and its smaller Chinese rival ZTE.
It's the latest twist in the clash between the U.S and China over technology.
Huawei — which describes itself as employee-owned — is one of China's largest and most successful companies. It's a key player in the introduction of super-fast 5G wireless networks around the world, and a leading smartphone brand that competes with Apple and Samsung.
The U.S government says Huawei's products could be used by Chinese intelligence services for spying — a claim the company has repeatedly denied. Washington has been leading an international campaign to pressure U.S allies to ban the Chinese company from their 5G networks. In a speech in Europe last month, U.S Vice President Mike Pence said his country had been "very clear" on the threat posed by Huawei.
"We must protect our critical telecom infrastructure, and the United States is calling on all our security partners to be vigilant and to reject any enterprise that would compromise the integrity of our communications technology or national security systems," he said.
Mobile operators around the world have said the U.S campaign is complicating their efforts to upgrade their networks. Analysts and industry executives say Huawei has already built up such a strong lead in 5G technology that it's practically irreplaceable for many wireless carriers.
Security concerns have led to the company's technology being completely banned in Australia, a major U.S ally, and partially restricted in New Zealand. European countries including the United Kingdom and Germany are still deciding what stance to take.
It is usually said that "all is fair in love and war", but it's important to determine when the jabs go below the belt. Sure enough, countries are quick to flex their political muscles, but isn't the decision to ban a rival nation's products tilting to the extreme? Does technology have to suffer just to prove a diplomatic point?
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