U.S. raising security concerns over Dutch 5G deal with Huawei

The United States will not necessarily stop sharing information with the Netherlands if the government allows Chinese company Huawei to be involved in the construction of the 5G network in our country, American ambassador Pete Hoekstra said to NRC. 

"If the Netherlands decides to use 5G networks with Huawei, we will have to consider how we will share that kind of information," Hoekstra said. "But I don't expect us to say: we're not going to share with you. Then we have to find other ways, other mechanisms. We'll work it out."

The first 5G frequencies in the Netherlands will be auctioned off next week. The United States is urging other countries not to allow Huawei to work on the network. The Republican Party in the U.S. proposed a bill to stop exchanging information with intelligence agencies in countries where Huawei was involved in the 5G network. Republican Senator Tom Cotton recently told the British House of Commons that allowing Huawei on the networks is similar to having the Soviet Union build western submarines in the Cold War.

But according to Hoekstra, the US would not necessarily just throw away the 70-years-long mutually beneficial relationship between the Netherlands and the United Sates. "We work a lot together, in the field of security and in the fight against drug trafficking or child pornography. We are not going to throw that away."

It will still be better if the Netherlands follows the example of some other European countries and not allow Huawei to work on its network, according to the ambassador. Hoekstra called the Netherlands a  "work in progress" when it comes to Huawei. "We believe that a 5G system with Huawei cannot be safe. We encourage the Dutch government and telecom companies to take the same route as we do."

Among other things, the U.S. fears that by allowing Huawei on the 5G networks, the company can obtain sensitive information and forward it to the Chinese government. There are also economic interests - the Americans do not want China to gain a technological advantage over the U.S. There is no hard evidence that China is using Huawei to spy on data exchange over 5G. According to Huawei, the U.S. is trying to damage the company's reputation for competitive reasons.