Berlin to ban Huawei & ZTE, force German telecoms to rip out equipment, Xi to visit Moscow "sooner than expected" & Gallup poll shows American views of China at "record low" -- China Boss News 3.13.23
The Big Story in China Business
Berlin to ban Huawei & ZTE, force German telecoms to rip out equipment
In an abrupt policy U-turn, Berlin will ban Huawei “from the 5G network for fear of dependencies,” according to German newspaper Zeit Online. According to news staff, neither Huawei, nor ZTE was specifically named in new legislation that recently expanded the powers of Germany’s federal IT security agency, the BSI. However, the the agency will, indeed, ban the participation of the two Chinese companies under its new discretion to do so over concerns that suppliers “from countries such as China are controlled by their governments.” The original article is in German, and China Boss used Google translate to make it understandable in English. Please forgive any errors.
The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the Federal Ministry of the Interior have been checking for months whether there are components in the systems of the currently growing 5G network that could endanger German security. The authorities are concerned that suppliers from countries such as China are controlled by their governments and that they could have direct or indirect access to German mobile networks. This test has not yet been officially completed, but the result is now apparently certain.
Politico’s Jakob Hanke Vela also said that “Olaf Scholz’s government is preparing to force [German] telecom companies to rip equipment made by China’s Huawei and ZTE out of their networks — after Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica ignored years of warnings and built 59 percent of Germany’s brand-new 5G network with Huawei components.”
Which all begs the question: If EU governments were so reluctant to get tough on China in the past when the U.S. asked them to … is a quid pro quo convincing them to act — such as access to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act subsidies? Or is it the realization, after Russia’s war on Ukraine, that Western allies must stand together? It’s a little of both, report my colleagues in a curtain–raiser ahead of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Washington this week.
NPR’s Rob Schmitz added that the “ban would make Germany the latest European country, albeit the largest economy and with the closest commercial ties, to sour on China,” and that “this is a trend expected to accelerate in the coming years.”
Beijing has responded that it is “very puzzled” and “strongly dissatisfied,” according to a statement received by Aljazeera.
“If the report is true, China is very puzzled and strongly dissatisfied that the relevant German government departments made the above decision without any factual basis,” the embassy in Berlin said in a statement on Wednesday.
“China firmly opposes Germany’s generalization of the concept of national security and abuse of state power to intervene in the market in its cooperation with China, which not only violates economic laws and the principle of fair competition, but also harms others rather than benefits itself,” the statement said.
For the rest of Zeit online’s report (in German), Federal government wants to ban components from Huawei and ZTE, click here. For Vela’s update, Brussels Playbook: China goes Paleo — Cars back from the dead — Migration action, click here. For Aljazeera’s report, China blasts Germany over reported plan to ban Huawei, ZTE, click here.
Law and International Xi
Xi to visit Moscow “sooner than previously expected,” Reuters
“Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to travel to Russia to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin as soon as next week. . . which would be sooner than previously expected,” Reuters reported earlier today, citing “people familiar with the matter.” Although, neither Beijing nor Moscow have confirmed any details, “Putin said last month that a Xi visit had been agreed,” and the Wall Street Journal last month reported “a visit to Moscow could take place in April or early May,” news staff said.
Xi has met Putin in person 39 times since becoming president, most recently in September during a summit in central Asia.
On Monday, Xi wrapped up the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress, during which he was unanimously confirmed in a precedent-breaking third term as president.
China Boss is closely tracking the possibility of another Xi-Putin meeting due to its significance for the war Ukraine. Russia is running out of munitions, and its economy is on the verge of collapse (see below), according to a Yale economist who says Russian economists working at the IMF are misinforming everyone by taking their more positive stats straight from the Russian state. Really, watch the video below for more juicy details.
If true, Beijing has to make a decision soon, else Putin will begin to struggle, both, in the war and at home. China Boss thinks that Xi is very much inclined to support Putin in Ukraine, if for no other reason than to avoid having to take his chances with an unknown replacement in the future. But having Russia as a vassal state could also have its perks. China might, one day, retake territory it lost during the Soviet era, and dramatically improve, both, water and energy security, to cite a few examples. Check out the following RealLifeLore (Nebula) YouTube video, if you’d like to see how. It’s awesome.
For the rest of Reuters’ report, Exclusive: China's Xi plans Russia visit as soon as next week, click here.