Tuesday, 02 April 2019 11:09

New Zealand again says Huawei not banned from 5G networks Featured

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Jacinda Ardern: Treading a wary path on the Huawei issue. Jacinda Ardern: Treading a wary path on the Huawei issue. Courtesy YouTube

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has again said that her country has not banned Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies from playing a role in its 5G networks.

At a media conference with New Zealand publications in Beijing, Ardern denied that her country had followed Australia in banning Huawei from participating in the 5G rollout.

Ardern was on a one-day visit to China on Monday during which she met President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

In November, New Zealand's General Communications Security Bureau, the country's main spy agency, said it had refused telco Spark permission to use Huawei equipment in its 5G network after the two companies demonstrated the technical implementation of access and core separation for 5G.

The Australian  quoted Ardern as saying: "Obviously we have Huawei products in New Zealand. This is simply an application around 5G that has been brought by Spark. It will be helpful for me to explain that process and the fact that there has been some misreporting.”

In February, Ardern made a similar statement during one of her regular weekly news conferences, saying the said the GCSB had given Spark options to mitigate the security concerns over the use of Huawei equipment. "The ball is now in their court," she said.

In a related development, Huawei's deputy chief executive in New Zealand, Andrew Bowater, told the New Zealand Herald that the company was willing to have its staff banned from Spark's 5G mobile network, or to have only a few GCSB-vetted engineers tend to it, if that would make the GCSB look favourably on it again.

When the newspaper asked him about the recent UK review, that blamed Huawei for poor engineering processes, Bowater said, while it made for uncomfortable reading, it was important to note that no backdoors or malicious code had been found.

China is New Zealand's biggest trading partner, with exports worth NZ$15.3 billion to Beijing and imports of NZ$11.9 billion in 2018.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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