U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused the head of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies of lying about his company’s relationship with the government in Beijing.
Pompeo said in a CNBC interview Thursday that Huawei “is tied not only to China but to the Chinese Communist Party.” He added, “The existence of those connections puts American information that crosses those networks at risk.”
Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications network equipment, is a leader in 5G technology. It has been trying to win contracts to build a global network that would make the internet much faster.
Last week, the U.S. government banned American companies from doing business with Huawei, escalating a heated trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
CEO Ren Zhengfei has maintained his company would not share secret user information. Huawei denies it is controlled by Beijing. The company also says it does not work with the Chinese government, an assertion Pompeo dismisses.
“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” Pompeo said of Huawei. “He is required by Chinese law to do that,” Pompeo added. “The Huawei CEO on that at least isn’t telling the American people the truth, nor the world.”
Pompeo confirmed a recent New York Times report that China was using a high-tech surveillance system as part of a policing effort that could track and subdue members of ethnic groups, including Muslim Uighurs.
The United States alleged earlier this month that Beijing had confined significantly more than a million minority Muslims in “concentration camps.”
Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankia said Tuesday in a Fox News interview there were training centers for those convicted of minor offenses. Pompeo responded that the facilities were actually “authoritarian re-education institutions.”