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Merkel’s conservatives stop short of Huawei 5G ban in Germany

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Lawmakers from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservatives have backed a position paper on 5G mobile networks that recommends tougher rules on foreign vendors while stopping short of banning China's Huawei, sources said.

FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is pictured at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin, Germany, September 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

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BERLIN: Lawmakers from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservatives have backed a position paper on 5G mobile networks that recommends tougher rules on foreign vendors while stopping short of banning China's Huawei, sources said.

The document was drafted by Christian Democrat leaders to address the concerns of party rebels who see Huawei as a threat to national security. It is intended to lay the ground for Merkel's coalition government to adopt a common position on 5G after months of divisive debate.

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The move rebuffs U.S. President Donald Trump's calls on Washington's allies to bar the Chinese telecoms giant from next-generation networks after Britain stopped short of an outright ban and the European Union backed a rules-based approach.

Several party sources said on Tuesday that Christian Democrat lawmakers had supported the four-page paper that, instead of imposing any individual bans, sets out the principles of a risk-management approach.

"State actors with sufficient resources can infiltrate the network of any equipment maker," it said. "Even with comprehensive technical checks, security risks cannot be eliminated completely – they can at best be minimised.

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"At the same time, we are not defenceless against attempts to eavesdrop on 5G networks. The use of strong cryptography and end-to-end encryption can secure confidentiality in communication and the exchange of data."

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Ironing out differences with a bloc of pro-American lawmakers led by Norbert Roettgen, head of parliament's foreign affairs committee, marks an important step towards building a broader consensus in Merkel's ruling alliance with the Social Democrats and across party lines.

It will also be important for Germany to present a coherent position at a security conference in Munich this weekend that will be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.

HUAWEI DEPENDENCY

It would be costly and potentially risky for Germany, Europe's largest economy, to exclude Huawei. Its three network operators are all customers of the Chinese vendor and Berlin is concerned that such a move might provoke trade retaliation by Beijing.

With that in mind, the paper makes a clear distinction between access, transport and core networks that are especially sensitive, thus allowing different handling of Huawei components in the various parts of the 5G network.

The paper suggests using produRead More – Source