OTTAWA – China’s envoy to Canada on Thursday warned Ottawa of possible repercussions if it banned technology firm Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from supplying equipment to Canadian 5G networks, the latest blast in a deepening bilateral dispute.
Ambassador Lu Shaye, speaking at a news conference, did not give details. Canada is currently studying the security implications of 5G networks, but unlike some allies has not announced a ban on Huawei equipment.
“I believe there will be repercussions” if Huawei were to be banned, said Lu, who spoke through an interpreter. He urged Ottawa to make a “wise” decision.
Relations between China and Canada turned frosty last month after Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, on a U.S. extradition request.
China subsequently detained two Canadian citizens, and this month a court retried a Canadian man who previously had been found guilty of drug smuggling, and sentenced him to death.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Beijing of arbitrarily using the death penalty and called world leaders to solicit their support.
Lu said when Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland — who has strongly criticized China’s actions — goes to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, next week she should not try to rally support.
Canada has said little about the review into 5G technology. A Canadian source directly familiar with the case said the study would not be released in the immediate future.
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced bills that would ban the sale of U.S. chips or other components to Huawei, ZTE Corp. or other Chinese firms that violate U.S. sanctions or export control laws.
The bills specifically cite ZTE and Huawei, both of which are viewed with suspicion in the United States because of fears that their switches and other gear could be used to spy on Americans. Huawei is the world’s biggest telecommunications equipment maker.
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