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US and G7 try to out-bribe China over global 5G rollout

One outcome from the recent G7 event was a US-led initiative to throw money at developing world infrastructure projects in a bid to beat China at its own game.

While the US government fact sheet doesn’t explicitly refer to 5G, the WSJ reports the 5G-specific part of the cunning plan known as ‘Build Back Better World’ has been unilaterally added to the agenda by the US. The long and short of it is that the US has belatedly realising that combating bribes with threats doesn’t work and is now working to ‘incentivise’ developing economies around the world to shun Huawei and ZTE kit.

The wonderfully sinister language doesn’t end there. Apparently the US is offering to ‘train’ foreign politicians and regulators to see the world its way and will offer a handy book full of top tips to augment it. “Today President Biden met with G7 leaders to discuss strategic competition with China and commit to concrete actions to help meet the tremendous infrastructure need in low- and middle-income countries,” opens the fact sheet published on 12 June.

The G7 consists of the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Entry into this smug cabal seems to be determined by a combination of GDP and geopolitics, since it excludes China and Russia as well as India and Brazil. It’s basically where the rich western countries get together to decide how the world should be run.

The communique summarising what was agreed doesn’t use the phrase ‘build back better world’ at all (although it comes up eight times without the ‘world’ bit), further indicating the unilateral nature of the US initiative. The bit that most closely aligns with it is the pledge to ‘strengthen our partnerships’, in other words bend the rest of the world to its will.

It mentions China four times. Three reiterate the usual stuff China will ignore regarding human rights, the origins of Covid, and green stuff. There is one passage, however, which indicates a degree of collective determination to put China in its place. “With regard to China, and competition in the global economy, we will continue to consult on collective approaches to challenging non-market policies and practices which undermine the fair and transparent operation of the global economy,” it says.

Leaving aside the toe-curling spectacle of the G7 leaders (plus a couple from the EU to prevent it sulking) cavorting on a Cornwall beach, this hardening of its collective stance on China seems significant. At the very least this is a great time to be a developing world MNO at the centre of a bribery bidding war between the US and China.

 

Image from G7 Flickr

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5 comments

  1. Avatar Cletus the clown 15/06/2021 @ 7:56 pm

    You have to laugh. The SEC docks Ericsson USD1B for bribery, only to now have Uncle Sam get in on the act themselves.
    I might not like The CCP much, but this is pretty poor form – I didn’t think out competing would amount to out-bribing. Thats what the US and the Soviets did in the 60’s.

  2. Avatar B 16/06/2021 @ 12:52 am

    Western equipment has an extra backdoor for the US to spy. Huawei does not have that, so the US will not be able to spy. Simple as that.
    Huawei offers turnkey solutions that are very attractive to less developed countries. Other companies usually offer upgrades to the existing networks. Internet of things offered by Huawei is also very useful in the industry and mining.
    G7 politicians must be loyal to the US. Their citizens have no choice; whoever they elect, the policy will be the same.

    • Avatar Cletus the Clown 16/06/2021 @ 12:40 pm

      Except that isn’t really the way that spying works. If you have to hack into the RAN, you’ve fucked up. Generally, there is a big front door that you can go in instead. It’s called legal intercept, thats if you have a specific target in mind.
      Otherwise you’re going for major trunk links – fiber backbones, undersea cables and the like. Plus Huawei can be hacked just like everyone else, last time I looked at CVE Details they were middle of the pack – backdoors make things easier, they dont mean for a second they are unhackable, and sorry to say that Huawei is quite hackable.
      But this is not where the real threat is, was or ever will be. The real threat lies in the ability of an actor like the CCP to coerce nations, like is being seen all over the media in many industries currently, as well as many countries. They obviously thought that spending 100’s of billions were worth it. If you know that 50% of your telecoms infrastructure depends on Huawei, and there is even a *threat* that the CCP may degrade service in any way – Remember O2 in 2018, 4G went down for 18 hours, and that was a certificate expiring, it crippled a lot of UK businesses for those 18 hours, and that represented 4% of the total UK RAN infrastructure – hopefully this brings into focus for you what the real threat was – and after a critical mass, if you start getting carried away with removing Huawei from your country, well, lets say it would be an awful shame if your network decided to catch a cold. No country reached that and thank god we’ve pulled back from that now, but this hacking stuff is nonsense – it’s not how its done.
      That China may use concerns generated by an over dependence on Chinese telecom infrastructure as a tool of coercion – then yes, very much so.

  3. Avatar Guess 16/06/2021 @ 10:02 am

    Huawei took active part in suppression of Uygurs, stole technology for a decade, hacked email servers of competitors to beat their offering. If they thought this has no consequences, then they were wrong. BTW, doing so does not keep anyone immune. Neither of the main telco vendors belong to G7.

  4. Avatar October 15/07/2021 @ 10:36 am

    I believe China is a better alternative to the world, different from the US led system. Over emphasizing on their flaws and weaknesses just to bring them down is no different from the inequality in US where black live don’t matter. Talking about ip theft US did the same from (Europe,great Britain and Japan) to wear the crown of supremacy.

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