Europe distances itself from US-UK China policy, welcomes Huawei investment

In this Wednesday, July 1, 2020 file photo, a man wearing a face mask to protect against the new coronavirus looks at his smartphone as he walks past a Huawei store in Beijing. The British government is reportedly poised to backtrack on plans to give Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei a limited role in the U.K.‘s new high-speed mobile phone network, a decision with broad implications for relations between the two countries. Britain’s decision to re-examine the question, the results of which will be announced Tuesday, July 14 came after the U.S. threatened to sever an intelligence-sharing arrangement because of concerns Huawei equipment could allow the Beijing government to infiltrate U.K. networks. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, file)
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PARIS (Reuters) – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday that France would not ban China’s Huawei from investing in the country, in contrast to Britain which has decided to purge the firm’s equipment from its 5G network by 2027.

Le Maire told France Info radio there was “no blanket ban” on Huawei in France, but that sensitive locations would be protected.

“We won’t ban Huawei from investing in 5G, we will protect our national security interests,” Le Maire said, adding that he had reaffirmed France’s position to Chinese authorities on Monday.

Le Maire nevertheless condemned China’s alleged abuses against the country’s minority Muslim population, saying they were “revolting and unacceptable”.

U.N. experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are being held in detention centres in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centres helping stamp out terrorism and extremism and giving people new skills.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took fresh aim at China last week, saying the United States would impose visa restrictions on Chinese firms such as Huawei that he accused of facilitating human-rights violations.