Tapping Chinese technology, entering deals with them pose risks, Pompeo warns
United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo warned on Friday of the "security risks" the Philippines would face with the use of Chinese Huawei technology.
In a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in Pasay City, Pompeo also discouraged the Duterte administration from entering into infrastructure contracts with China due to lack of transparency.
"We believe that competition, whether it's in 5G and other technology are ought to be free, transparent, and we worry that Huawei is not that," he said when asked about the Philippines using Huawei technology.
He said it is the US task "when to share with the world the risks associated with technology, the risks to the Philippine people, the risks to Philippine security, the risk that America may not be able to operate in certain environment if there is a Huawei technology adjacent to that."
In November last year, the Department of Interior and Local Government signed a $396.8-million contract with the state-run China International Telecommunication Construction Corporation (CITCC) for the construction and installation of monitoring systems in Metro Manila and Davao City under the "Safe Philippines Project."
According to Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, the Chinese company would use Huawei Technologies as an equipment supplier.
He has noted the recent arrests of Huawei officer and employee in Canada and Poland, respectively, on espionage charges.
The Chinese company, however, denied the espionage allegations.
Pompeo said that the US is just sharing information about the risks of using Chinese technology.
"Every nation that will make their own sovereign decision about how to proceed, that's appropriate, that's the right way to go. But we want to make sure that the world has their eyes wide open as to the risks of having that technology be part of the infrastructure or backbone or networks of transiting communication inside of the country and in fact, around the world transiting that information internationally as well," he said.
Contrary to Chinese firms, the US official also said that the American companies are the "best partners" in the priority areas of infrastructure, development and digital economy because they "operate with the highest standard of transparency and adherence to the rule of law."
"The same cannot be said for Chinese state-run or state-backed enterprises," he said.
The Philippines has been negotiating with China to finance some of its infrastructure projects.
Pompeo also said the US is eager to build new cooperation in the region, including the Philippines, on the area of energy.
"Demand for energy in Asia is going to skyrocket in the coming years. An American company is poised to invest billions in the region, the best partner to deliver reliable secure and affordable supplies of energy," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS