Washington, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- The United States’ secretary of state on Wednesday said visa restrictions will be imposed on employees of Huawei and other Chinese technology companies who provide “material support” to governments that violate human rights.
“State Department will impose visa restrictions on certain employees of Chinese tech companies like Huawei that provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations and abuses globally,” Mike Pompeo said at a press conference.
He did not indicate how many employees or companies would be affected by the measure.
Huawei, the US secretary of state said in a separate statement, is “an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state that censors political dissidents and enables mass internment camps in Xinjiang and the indentured servitude of its population shipped all over China.”
The US’s top diplomat also announced that on Monday he will travel to the United Kingdom and Denmark, two European countries that have limited telecom operators’ ability to acquire Huawei’s fifth-generation, or 5G, technology.
Pompeo also used the occasion to applaud the UK’s Huawei announcement this week, saying it has become a “clean” country that is free of “untrusted 5G vendors.”
After receiving constant pressure from Washington, London announced Tuesday that it is barring telecommunications operators from acquiring new Huawei 5G equipment starting on Jan. 1, 2021.
The UK also said that those companies must remove all existing Huawei equipment from their 5G networks by 2027.
In his press conference, Pompeo also praised similar steps taken by several companies, including Spain’s Telefonica, which last December announced that it plans to “progressively” reduce Huawei’s presence in the core of its 5G networks.
In May 2019, the US barred Huawei from selling its telecommunications equipment to American companies, citing concerns that it could be installed for espionage purposes.
Shenzhen, China-based Huawei, which is very popular in Europe, currently leads the battle over ultra-fast 5G wireless infrastructure, which began to be rolled out worldwide by cellular phone companies in 2019, allows for far speedier Internet browsing and could facilitate the development of self-driving cars and remote-controlled surgical machines.
The US is responding by spearheading a global campaign to impede Huawei’s further development of 5G technology and pressuring many European countries to restrict the Chinese company’s activity.
Huawei denies that it conducts espionage on behalf of the Chinese government and says it is being targeted by Washington and its allies due to competitive advantages it enjoys over Western telecommunications companies.