In what is a turnabout move for the US, President Donald Trump is now saying that he doesn't want to discuss Huawei as part of the US trade negotiations with China.
Huawei is off the table in trade talks — for now
"It's a national security concern. Huawei is a big concern of our military, of our intelligence agencies, and we are not doing business with Huawei. And we'll see what happens with respect to China, but Huawei has been not a player that we want to discuss, (that) we want to talk about right now," the President said on Wednesday.
Trump's rhetoric reversal
Trump's words are a direct reversal from his former stance earlier this summer as he met up with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. At that time, Jinping said that there would be no negotiations with the US unless the government relaxed its ban against Huawei entirely.
At the G20 summit, Jinping and Trump reached some sort of temporary compromise, with the President announcing that Beijing would invest in the US agricultural market.
It seemed that Trump's discussion with Jinping was financial in nature, since, after the declaration of Beijing's financial investment, Trump allowed American tech companies to sell to Huawei again.
What the President gets right
I said earlier this summer that Huawei posing a national security threat in one country makes Huawei a national security threat everywhere, and I still stand by that statement. It's refreshing to see that the President finally gets it after months of optimism he's had behind negotiations with China.
Negotiations with Beijing aren't just about money, though that seems to be the motivating factor for the political war between two of the most powerful countries on the globe currently.
Huawei is a national security threat. Its telecom equipment is closed-source, meaning that Huawei doesn't have accountability for what it is or isn't doing with its equipment (think espionage). Next, Huawei is closely tied to Beijing in such a way that the company name itself means "the advancement of China."
As of late, a Wall Street Journal expose shows that company's espionage dealings in the African governments of Uganda and Zambia, as well as the company's willingness to sell digital surveillance in those countries. With Huawei plastering its company logo on the Ugandan police headquarters, it's clear that Huawei's digital footprint is all about colonization and takeover, not safety and money.
In addition to its national security threat, Huawei is also guilty of trade theft with T-Mobile's "Tappy" smartphone-testing robot. The company is guilty of doing business deals with countries such as Iran (banking) and North Korea (wireless network building and maintenance), countries the US has sanctioned for their weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.
And Huawei's knowledge of just how ruthless these countries are hasn't kept the corporation away from them.
Trump has been going along with China's plan all along, throwing Huawei in as part of the mix, but the President has now seen the error of his ways (on this one thing, at least) and is trying to ensure national security is his top priority. Whether or not Beijing and Jinping are willing to even meet at the table is another story.