The order did not single out any country or company, but after a fierce, protracted global pressure campaign to edge Chinese telecom giant Huawei out of the 5G market, the US aim is clear.
Also on Wednesday, the US Commerce Department said it put Huawei and its affiliates on an “Entity List”, which would restrict the sale or transfer of US technologies to the company.
Rather than be willing to engage in constructive competition, Washington has made the unfortunate choice of unfairly cracking down on a law-abiding foreign company in the hopes of maintaining its leading position in cutting-edge technology.
It is a wake-up call for the international community, because unless Washington gets rid of its zero-sum and protectionist mindset, anyone could be the next victim of its bullying tactics.
Though Washington has for long professed to care about cybersecurity in justifying its swipe at Huawei, the irony should not be lost on its neighbors in the global community. After all, it is the US government that has been exposed as compelling US tech companies to spy on its own citizens under the PRISM project since 2007.
Despite unprecedented cybersecurity scrutiny imposed on Huawei, no evidence has ever been found that the Chinese company has engaged in cyber surveillance. Even US officials have to admit that their accusation is based on hypothesis only.
No wonder Washington faces resistance from its traditional allies despite its aggressive campaign to pressure, scold and even threaten them over future cooperation with Huawei.
In response to Washington’s latest move, Huawei said in a statement that it is “ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security.”
Unfortunately, the reconciliatory remarks are sure to fall on deaf ears if Washington continues to “bully” a Chinese company that is challenging US peers in developing 5G technology.
US President Donald Trump has on many occasions insisted that his country must “win” in the current 5G competition.
To gain an upper hand, Washington has showed its readiness to unfairly beat down a foreign competitor, an approach everyone has to be on guard against.