A government backed, multinational company capable of infiltrating our global networks, electric grids, banking systems, and healthcare operations sounds worthy of a James Bond film. However, this threat was, and remains real in the form of one of the world’s largest technology companies, Huawei.
Huawei represents a significant threat to America courtesy of Communist China – a threat to our digital and technological safety. Their deeds speak louder than words. One of the company’s executives has been charged with fraud in order to evade American sanctions against Iran. Huawei stands accused of stealing intellectual property. Make no mistake, Huawei is a critical aspect of the Communist Chinese government’s broader threat to the American economy and our very values.
If Huawei had been allowed to succeed in its intentions to build out the 5G platform in the United States, the Chinese government would have a foothold in the backbone of our nation’s most critical infrastructure. If they were allowed into our networks, they could bring down our electric grid, our banking system, tele-medicine services, self-driving cars; you name it, they could control it. A stereotypical Bond film come to life.
Thankfully President Trump stopped that from happening. President Trump has clipped the wings of Communist China, but of course, the President’s success in pushing back against China has been drowned out in the media. Rather we see voices siding with the Communist regime. We see the communist-sympathizing NBA slide backwards when Daryl Morey tweeted in support of freedom for the people of Hong Kong. But as the United States ambassador to Japan in this critical geopolitical region, I saw first-hand how President Trump’s leadership put a stop to Huawei’s threat as he stood up to communist China.
As the ambassador to Japan, I worked with President Trump to call out the threat regarding Huawei’s access to critical infrastructure while being under the clear influence of the Communist Chinese government, and we need to continue raising the alarm today.
Huawei’s efforts to embed into our critical infrastructure have been stopped for the time being. But it is not enough to hold them at bay in our country, we must also encourage our allies to refrain from working with suppliers like Huawei that pose serious security threats. If one of these firms is able to access intelligence from one of our allies, that puts America directly in harm’s way.
The security concerns surrounding Huawei have been widely documented. In 2017 shortly before I was sworn in as President Trump’s representative to Japan, the Chinese government implemented a law which said any “organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with” China’s security services – effectively making any Chinese company a de facto branch of their intelligence agency. It is clear proof that no technology component is safe, if manufactured in China.
That is why I worked closely with the Japanese government to address the powerful threat Huawei poses to global security, but also the threat to economic security. The economic threat is significant. The company is a massive state-owned enterprise employing more than 180,000 people, backed by the balance sheet of China, the second largest economy in the world.
With a competitor like this in the marketplace, innovation is stifled. No investor would put money into developing new technologies in a field where a competitor may have access to stolen intellectual property and unlimited capital. This clearly suppresses innovation and explains why few free market based alternatives to Huawei exist today. That should now change.
Working closely with President Trump, Japan agreed to cooperate with us on keeping their infrastructure safe like our own, excluding state-owned and influenced entities like Huawei from their critical 5G infrastructure. Other countries are joining us. As they do, we are creating a large, open and attractive market for fresh capital investment into innovative 5G technologies.
Clearing the world’s first and third largest economies — U.S. and Japan — from competition by state-controlled actors makes economies of scale accessible for private sector, free market companies. Expect innovation to follow. We must allow private sector innovators to commit capital knowing they can compete in a market that is fair.
Let’s support our president in standing up to China and its threats; for better trade deals for American workers; and in speaking out on behalf of the oppressed people in China who have their religious freedom, their freedom of expression and their rights trampled by a Marxist regime.
Bill Hagerty (@BillHagertyTN) served as the United States ambassador to Japan in the Trump administration. He is running for the Senate in Tennessee with President Trump’s endorsement.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.