China rejects Norway's Huawei suspicions

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 05 2019 07:29 PM

OSLO - China has brushed off the Norwegian intelligence service PST's warning about Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, saying any espionage fears were "ridiculous".

In its annual national risk assessment report, the PST on Monday singled out countries like China and Russia for trying to spy on the Scandinavian country. 

PST director Benedicte Bjornland said there were "close connections between a commercial actor like Huawei and the Chinese regime."

"An actor like Huawei could be subject to influence from its home country as long as China has an intelligence law that requires private individuals, entities and companies to cooperate with China."

The Chinese embassy in Oslo rejected the allegations.

"China poses no threat to Norway's security," it wrote on its website.

"It's very ridiculous for the intelligence service of a country to make (a) security assessment and attack China with pure hypothetical language." 

Regarding Huawei, the embassy said "China consistently opposes and combats all forms of cyberespionage and attacks."

"Chinese laws and regulations never give any institution the mandate to force companies to build 'mandatory back doors'," it said.

Several countries like the United States have banned Huawei's equipment to build 5G mobile networks for security reasons.

Norway is considering setting up a regulatory framework to limit its exposure, as its telecom operators prepare to roll out 5G networks.

The two main operators, Telenor and Telia, previously chose Huawei to supply their 4G networks.

The Scandinavian country is treading cautiously on the issue, after China's angry reaction to the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, triggering lengthy diplomatic and trade repercussions from Beijing's side.