translated from Spanish: Huawei case: Between Ciberespionaje, G5 and global dispute

Huawei has gone back negatively in recent months in the few minutes that open television gives International affairs in the context of the US conflict UU-China or what the American admiral, James Estavridis, has described as a return «to the normal state of rivalry between the powers» (Mercury 01/12/2018). Thus, in addition to the publicity that promotes it, this Chinese high-tech communications company was mentioned in December 2018, because of the arrest in Canada of the daughter of the founder and financial director of the company, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the U.S. for 10 federal charges against two Huawei subsidiaries for technology theft to the telephony operator T-Mobile (a system called «Tappy») and 13 charges against the Chinese group and the executive for the «violation» of the sanctions regime to Iran (El País 29/01/2019).
This company returned to the Chilean news with the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to our country and in the context of the «war» that declared the administration of President Trump to the most advanced equipment manufacturer in the 5G technology, by the Fear of espionage or control of networks from Beijing. The Peruvian medium RPP of the 15/04/2019 highlighted that the Chilean President Sebastián Piñera that «had among his plans to visit the campus of the giant of the telecommunications in his next visit to China, (…) He changed his agenda «(which was not the case) after what was expressed by Pompeo:» We know that Russia and China will come to touch your door. And when they are let go, we know what happens (…) When difficulties are provoked, know that America will be behind South America. »
Beyond the possible pressure to discard the visit to Huawei that he exerted Pompeo or those which exerts China to devote his interests (example in the cases of lithium or steel skittles, and whose protagonist is Ambassador Xu Bu in person or by means of columns) , in his article entitled «5G: The other side of the digital war», Gonzalo touches gives clear clues to understand this conflict by expressing that these technologies of fifth generation are called to become the skeleton of a new world (ie in an active Strategic). It talks about «cars without a driver, which will connect everything to control it remotely or absorb its data, which opens the way for the sensorization of our body and the one that makes possible a new medicine and perhaps even a new society. Technically, the speed would accelerate to the point that we will be able to download a two-hour film in less than 4 seconds versus the 6 minutes that we are used to with a 4G network… The possibilities to reduce the energy consumption of the connections and to expand the range of connected devices could be immense «(esglobal.org 10/04/2019). We’re talking about a quantum shift.
If we look at it in the concrete, particularly in the context of the race to accumulate patents of this new technology, the winners will be paid a commission to use their findings, their companies will compete with advantage against rivals who have to adapt To its technologies and will also have a privileged relationship with the main operators of the future of the Internet. Among the contenders of this development are the European Union with countries such as Sweden, Finland, France and the Netherlands, and with companies like Ericsson and Nokia; United States with Qualcomm, InterDigital, Intel, and Cisco; In Asia, China with Huawei and ZTE, Japan with Fujitsu and Panasonic and South Korea with Samsung and LG, etc. They are not the only ones, but the Eurasia consultant identifies them as the main patent-holding companies 5G «(esglobal.org 10/04/2019).
The analyst Raúl Sohr has highlighted that the Chinese company has taken the lead in the technological career with the implementation of the 5G, added that «in the matter of 5G, there is no Western company that is at the level of development of Huawei, therefore, in this case they are not You can blame that they’ve copied, it’s the other way around, it’s the West that feels at a disadvantage. » This is endorsed by the consultant Eurasia, by expressing that Chinese companies like Huawei could already possess 40% of the essential patents of the 5G networks. It adds that its national networks could make the jump and operate without having to rely on 4G in 2020 , that is, five years before the U.S. and the EU. That would mean that, for several years, China would possess the best infrastructures on the planet to innovate on the Internet. The Asian «dragon», which already accumulates more than 50% of the global e-commerce market and could exceed 60% in 2022, according to the consultancy eMarketer, is in a position to seize the opportunity.
Sohr further argued that «there is no evidence until now that Huawei has been involved in espionage» (CNNChile 08/03/2019). However, despite not having reliable evidence, in what is a certain consensus is in relation to the insecurity (real or intentional) that generate new technologies and Huawei among them. Analyst Evan Ellis in an article (Infobae of 15/04/2019) on the risks behind Chinese surveillance technology, for example, said that «as with sectors such as computers and telecommunications, China wishes to support the global export of Such systems by their companies to promote technologies that it recognizes as strategic (…) According to their own official documents, like Made In China 2025. (Adds) that the risks arising from the dissemination of the use of the equipment and the Chinese surveillance architectures are multiple and significant, and include: 1) The sensitivity of the data collected on specific persons and activities, especially when They process through technologies such as facial recognition, integrated with other data, and analyzed through artificial intelligence (AI) and other sophisticated algorithms; 2) The potential capacity to obtain surreptitiously access to such data, not only through collection devices, but in any number of points as they communicate, store and analyse; And, 3) The long-term potential for such systems to contribute to the maintenance of authoritarian regimes whose corrupt elites provide strategic access and commercial benefits to the Chinese state. »
From this insecurity or more traditional ones such as the one denounced by the Wall Street Journal (29/04/2019) of a growing recruitment of U.S. intelligence officers by Chinese spies, Gonzalo Toca, citing the New York Times newspaper , says that «the U.S. has informed countries where it has military bases that would not consider their communications safe if managed by a company like Huawei… They have told their NATO allies that they put their national security at risk by granting 5G contracts to Chinese companies «(esglobal.org 10/04/2019), warning that they would run for, for example, Huawei’s participation in fiber optic cable construction port Montt-Puerto Williams in Chile.
The issue of data collection capacity and/or espionage today, however, is not only a matter of China or Russia (i.e. the latter is accused of interfering in presidential and legislative campaigns – El País 03/08/2018). Just remember the revelations WikiLeaks made, the portal of the well-known Julian Assange, on the use of these technologies of the U.S. intelligence agencies. Among the media that struck this complaint were the cell phone and television. In other words, the CIA can spy on anyone with a similar or greater scope to the NSA (National Security Agency) system denounced by Edward Snowden in 2013. It was spoken at that time, for example, of the program «Angel that Cries», designed for the intelligent televisions of the company Korean Samsung, which puts a mode «false off» but it is not and records the conversations and sends direct to a secret server of the CIA (the Manual of these devices launched in 2015 warned of this) (nacion.com.ar 08/03/2017). Cell phones were also in the sights, for example with Siri, the Apple assistant, who always hears what is said around him and sends it to the company, or systems like iOS and Android. In the same way it behaves Amazon Alexa, messaging systems like WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram or programs like Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
In any case and in the end, the central theme goes beyond Huawei and the «Cyberwar» with its «ciberespionaje» and its response of «Ciberdisuación» to call it in some way. The bottom line is China’s rise as a candidate for global first power. Beijing is drawing a pattern that says it wants to be heard and even lead the international agenda on crucial issues in the coming years. It has made it clear by creating an alternative institution to the World Bank, imposing the yuan as a currency of exchange and reigning in electronic commerce (read in the fund to change the Bretton Woods System); Becoming the international epicenter of electric transport; Expanding their «heads of the Beach» with the construction of artificial islands or promoting ways that allow a articulation of their world interests: there is the new Silk Route (OBOR – One Belt One Road), a megaproject that builds and/or appropriates roads , railways, ports and airports, pipelines and pipelines, and other infrastructures to unite China to Central and south-east Asia, Europe, Africa and even Latin America (there is no place for China not to look and reach by land, air and sea – see Counter 18/09/2018). And it could continue quoting facts, such as the modernization of its armed (it is the second largest defense budget in the world with growth above 10% between 2000-2016 with the aim of being the 2050 the main military power), showing its strategic stature by licensing ignore failures of the International Court of Justice (see case of dispute with the Philippines), explaining the annexation of Taiwan even by force, trying Of taking America out of Asia or driving its version of the future of the Internet through the development of the 5G networks, among others; That is to say increasing and deploying its strategic capacities with a hegemonic purpose.
Dr. John Chipman, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, in his article «A New geopolitical challenge to the rules-based order» (a new geopolitical challenge to rule-based order, November 2018-iiss.org), It characterizes this challenge by expressing that today it is becoming less difficult to challenge the existing world order. He says that this is done through what he calls «war of tolerance» and that it is nothing more than to test the different tolerances/resistances to unilateral actions, that is to say «to systematically gain tactical advantages over undecided opponents» without posing a challenge Explicit symmetrical (typical of the Cold War).
These facts, particularly the industrial strategy Made in China 2025 and the military development, have led experts like the researcher of the National Academy of Science and Technology (Acatech) of Germany, Christina Müller-Markus, to say that this development Towards a superpower «has also ignited the red light in European Union (EU)». In this direction, for example, a recent European Commission document declares China as a «systemic rival» that can no longer be treated as a developing country (country 15/03/2019). This apprehension is anchored in facts like that the Chinese investment in the EU «in strategic assets and with high technological value added» reached 181 billion euros between 2000-2018, this despite the fact that the European investment in China is similar but with the difference Q EU is in the productive sector and with limitations to enter the financial sector and public bidding. The EU also fears that dependence on Chinese capital (much of its origin and state management) in some countries, especially in those in southern Europe, will introduce a dangerous wedge to continental unity (El País 14/08/2018). It is also concerned about the over-borrowing and financial stability of countries in the Balkans and in Africa as well as the control China acquires from them. Guntram B. Wolf, Director of the Economic Analysis centre Bruegel said that «Chinese investment is welcome. It becomes a problem when there is state capital behind it and when it can lead to influencing the decisions of the countries. » Brussels completes its analysis with the threat of market closures if reciprocal opening measures and investment control are not produced in strategic sectors (country 15/03/2019).
So far, as an article from the Japan Times of the 19/03/2019 («The high cost of a new Cold War»), only Australia and New Zealand have joined the U.S. demand to prohibit Huawei, while Canada considers doing so and Europe has refused like India and Core to the south. Continuing the article arguing that beyond the implications in national security, is the fact that banning Huawei will result in higher costs and a significant delay in the use of 5G, and the U.S. has not offered «compensation or reward to its allies Hesitating. »
While the European Commission has not joined the Washington offensive against Huawei (although companies like Vodafone suspended, at the end of January, the use of Huawei products in their infrastructure), recognizes the nerve character of the new networks of Telephony and communication in general, and the risk that any vulnerable point can be exploited to cause «big damage». This is a dilemma that has been raised long ago as seen in 2016, for example, with the Dutch company Philips who sold its lighting unit to a Chinese investment fund but then vetoed by Washington for the impact on security. Similar case occurred with the German Osram, who sold his LED production line to a Chinese company, but when the latter wanted control of this company met with the angry reaction of the political and trade union of Germany, which caused them to desist. Today Deutsche Telekom is revising its procurement policy after the charges against Huawei (Europapress 29/01/2019), while teams from the University of Waseda in Tokyo, from the University of Stuttgart, the Japanese electronic company NEC, Deutsche Telekom and other academic, government and business entities signed a strategic alliance for the development of the 5G system that replaces the Huawei (Nikkei Asia review 28/03/2019).
The sensitive points in China’s relationship with Europe and other countries revolved around the lack of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms or the situation in Tibet. If these interpeals continue, the fan will be widespread and will cover areas as diverse as climate change, arms race or agro-alimentary exports. For example, the EU is calling on China to realize its commitment to put a ceiling on CO2 emissions 2030 and reminds Beijing that, although it has signed the Paris Protocol, it is financing the construction of coal-based power plants in many countries. In the military arena, Brussels tells China that its rise to 2050 «with the most technologically advanced armed» in the world, forces them to react accordingly and warn them that «cross-sectoral hybrid threats, including the operations of Information, and the great military maneuvers, not only undermine confidence but pose a challenge to the security of the EU, «a language that Brussels reserved for Vladimir Putin’s Russia alone (El País 11/03/2019).
A geopolitical career of such unpredictable results had not been seen for a long time. Mixin Pei is called a «new Cold War» (Project Syndicate 18/02/2019) and says that unlike the US dispute. The USSR, the current US-Chinese competition, involves two economies that are strongly related to each other and to the rest of the world and that it will be disputed on this plane more than the military in the China Sea or the Taiwan Strait. This explains the current trade war, that is to say that the bases of its boom are found in the Chinese economy. In this context some analysts think that if the U.S. wants to win this «Cold War» it must break its trade ties with China and encourage its allies to do the same. Of course this is easier said than done as seen in the doubts of the Pdte. Trump to continue escalating the conflict despite maintaining the deficit; The costs are high for the U.S., China is willing to reduce it to avoid scaling and have to compensate non-enthusiastic allies, given the very challenges it has placed on the relationship (read new tariff rates or charges for troops in Europe for example).
China’s military boom has also unleashed a new arms race. There are the US $69 billion more in the US military budgets to increase its «hard power» (the 03/03/2018 counter), the biggest naval charges since the SECOND war announced by Australian Prime Minister Christopher Pyne ( defenceconnect.com.au 30/01/2019) or the change of the Japanese defensive construct with two carrier, purchase of F-35Th fighters and increase of the military expenditure (La Vanguardia 19/12/2018).
In the end and as an article in the newspaper El País said, China is a partner (power) as essential as disturbing and this is where Huawei appears in world chess.

The content poured in this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the editorial line or position of the counter.

Original source in Spanish

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