OTTAWA – Canada will ban Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE from its 5G wireless networks due to national security concerns, officials said Thursday.

The long-awaited move follows the United States and other key allies, following a diplomatic dispute between Ottawa and Beijing over the detention of Huawei’s chief executive on a US warrant that has already been authorized.

The United States has warned of the security implications of giving Chinese technology companies access to key telecommunications infrastructure that could be used for espionage.

Both Huawei and Beijing have denied the allegations.

Canadian Minister of Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne and Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino announced this at a press conference.

“Today we announce our intention to ban the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE products and services in Canada’s telecommunications systems,” Champagne said.

“Telecommunications companies in Canada will not be allowed to include in their networks products or services that put our national security at risk,” he said.

“Suppliers who already have this equipment installed will need to stop using it and remove it.”

Canada has been reviewing the issue for several years, repeatedly postponing a decision that was expected for the first time in 2019.

Ottawa remains silent on the telecommunications issue after China imprisoned two Canadians – diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spaver – in what observers say is revenge for the arrest of Huawei CEO Meng Wangzhou in Vancouver in December 2018 at the request of United States.

All three were released in September 2021 after Mann reached an agreement with US prosecutors on fraud charges, ending her fight for extradition.

Fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks provide faster online connections with more data capacity.

Mendicino said that innovation “represents a great opportunity for competition and growth”, but “there are also risks”.

“There are many hostile actors who are willing to exploit vulnerabilities” in telecommunications networks, he said.

READ: India likely to block Chinese Huawei over security concerns – officials

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