China has made treatment of its 5G vendors an issue of the same rank as its aspirations on issues like climate change and trade liberalisation.
The nation’s position emerged yesterday in a new Position Paper of the People's Republic of China On the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations that spells out China’s 14-point vision for international trade and cooperation.
Among the points raised are observance of World Trade Organisation rules, following the World Health Organisation’s lead on COVID-19 management and fully implementing the Paris Agreement and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. China wants nuclear disarmament, gender equality, respect for intellectual property, settlement for refugees, more assistance to developing nations, ongoing action against combat terrorism and supports UN reform.
G5 security is a technical issue. Any related assessment and conclusion should therefore be made based on facts and science.
The paper also devoted two points solely to matters technological.
The first re-states China's Global Initiative on Data Security, an eight-point plan for safe technology use by governments and the private sector.
The next item on China’s list opens: “5G security is a technical issue. Any related assessment and conclusion should therefore be made based on facts and science. Access to the 5G market should be decided by the market and companies involved.”
“As for governments, they should treat all 5G companies in a non-discriminatory manner, uphold the principles of free trade and market competition, and enable an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment,” the document continues. “No government should politicize 5G, or abuse the notion of national security to exclude or restrict a particular company.”
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The quote above is almost certainly a reference to the USA, UK, Australia and other nations that have excluded China's Huawei and ZTE from participating in local 5G and other networks.
The accusation of "abuse" of national security could also be directed at India, which China thinks unfairly banned over 100 apps with Middle Kingdom links in recent weeks.
Whatever the coded diplomatic niceties, the mere fact that China has chosen to include 5G vendors in a significant document that otherwise deals with big global issues shows how seriously the nation's leadership is taking the challenges its vendors face. ®