Beijing, China—China on Friday hit out at Ottawa for blocking Chinese telecoms giants Huawei and ZTE from Canadian 5G networks, describing the ban as “groundless” ban and based on spurious security risks.
Canada’s long-awaited move follows the United States and other key allies, and comes on the heels of a diplomatic row between Ottawa and Beijing over the detention of a senior Huawei executive on a US warrant, which has now been resolved.
“China is firmly opposed to this,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters of the 5G block, adding Beijing would “take all necessary measures” to protect Chinese companies.
“This move runs counter to market economy principles and free trade rules,” he added.
Canadian Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne made the announcement on Thursday, citing their “intention to prohibit the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE products and services in Canada’s telecommunication systems.”
The United States has warned of the security implications of giving Chinese tech companies access to telecommunications infrastructure that could be used for state espionage.
Both Huawei and Beijing have rejected the allegations, while Beijing warned of repercussions for nations placing restrictions on the telecoms equipment provider.
Champagne and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino made the announcement at a news conference.
“Today, we’re announcing our intention to prohibit the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE products and services in Canada’s telecommunication systems,” Champagne said.
“Telecommunication companies in Canada will not be permitted to include in their networks products or services that put our national security at risk,” he said.
“Providers who already have this equipment installed will be required to cease its use and remove it.”
Canada had been reviewing the matter for several years, repeatedly delaying a decision that was first expected in 2019.