U.S. 'warns Germany to drop Huawei'

U.S. 'warns Germany to drop Huawei'

U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell last week sent a letter to Germany's Economy Minister Altmaier warning of security concerns linked to Huawei's role in building critical infrastructure.

The United States has told Germany that it will share less intelligence with its security agencies if the country's wireless network uses China's Huawei Technologies to upgrade to 5G, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday in the first explicit USA warning to Germany of consequences for declining to shun Huawei.

The letter, which was dated Friday and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, marks the first known time the US has explicitly warned an ally that refusing to ostracise Huawei could lessen security cooperation with Washington.

Perhaps anticipating China's complaint that the Trump administration is cracking down on Chinese electronics to drive them off the market and create business opportunities for American firms, Grenell advised the Germans to hire Ericsson Communications of Sweden, Nokia of Finland, or Samsung of South Korea to build its 5G network.

Germany, like other European Union countries, has relied heavily on United States intelligence on terror and other threats provided by the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and other spy services.

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Reportedly, Huawei has no plans to sue the Australian government, for now.

"A USA embassy spokesman told NPR in a statement that he would not comment on the contents of the letter", NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports from Munich.

The Chinese telecoms behemoth has strenuously denied the espionage allegations.

The battle with Huawei is one of many conflicts in Washington's disputes with China, but it is also exacerbating tensions in US-German ties that are strained over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and trade. Germany announced March 7 that it wouldn't ban any company from bidding on 5G contracts.

Tensions have also run high over the detention of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is facing possible extradition to the US on allegations she committed financial fraud in the course of allegedly violating worldwide sanctions on Iran.