Beijing on Thursday slammed US warnings of “consequences” if Brazil chooses Chinese telecoms company Huawei to develop its 5G network, accusing Washington of “unscrupulous oppression” of the country’s tech companies.
Huawei—the world’s top producer of telecoms networking equipment—has become a pivotal issue in the geopolitical standoff between Beijing and Washington, which claims the firm poses a significant cybersecurity threat.
Brazil is due to launch a tender next year for a project to develop the next generation of telecoms technology in Latin America’s most populous country, home to 212 million people.
But the US ambassador in Brasilia, Todd Chapman, warned in an interview of “consequences” if Brazil goes against US advice and picks the Chinese firm.
Beijing on Thursday called the ambassador’s remarks an example of the US “openly coercing other countries to obey the will of the United States.”
Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the US opposed the use of Huawei products not on national security grounds, but because they objected to the rise of Chinese firms.
“When other countries’ enterprises achieve a leading advantage, US politicians will fabricate excuses to use national power to conduct unscrupulous oppression,” Wang said at a regular press briefing.
Washington has essentially barred Huawei from the US market and waged a global campaign to isolate the company.
The British government bowed to growing US pressure and pledged earlier this month to remove Huawei from its 5G network by 2027, despite warnings of retaliation from Beijing.
Australia and Japan have also taken steps to block or restrict the Chinese company’s participation in their 5G rollouts, while European telecoms operators including Norway’s Telenor and Sweden’s Telia have passed over Huawei as a supplier.