The Chinese Embassy in Canada on Thursday vowed to take all necessary measures to protect Chinese firms' legitimate rights and interests, after Canada revealed plans to ban use of 5G gear from Huawei and ZTE on so-called national security grounds.
The 5G ban targeting Chinese firms, coming on the heels of a gesture of goodwill from China which lifted a three-year ban on Canadian canola seeds, lays bare Ottawa's role as a political pawn of the U.S., experts said, viewing Ottawa's unwise action as sowing the seeds of uncertainty over China-Canada cooperation.
China expressed grave concern over and strongly condemned the Canadian government's ban decision, the embassy said in a statement on its website, citing an embassy spokes-person.
"The government intends to prohibit the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE products and services in Canada's telecommunications systems," Canadian Minister of Innovation, Sci-ence and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement Thursday.
"This follows a thorough review by our independent security agencies and in consultation with our closest allies.
"As a result, telecommunications companies that operate in Canada would no longer be permitted to make use of designated equipment or services provided by Huawei and ZTE. As well, companies that already use this equipment installed in their networks would be required to cease its use and remove it," the Canadian minister said, citing alleged safety and security concerns.
The planned prohibition seems rather bewildering as the Canadian government announced China's removal of a ban on Canadian canola seeds only a day earlier.
"China has reinstated access to its market for two Canadian companies that China Cus-toms had suspended from exporting canola seed to China since March 2019," Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau disclosed in a joint statement on Wednesday. The canola sector contributes roughly $27 billion and 250,000 jobs to Canada's economy, read the statement.
The Chinese market purportedly accounted for 40 percent of Canada's canola exports prior to the trade tensions.
"The telecom ban is quite unwise, a conscious indication that Ottawa sits tight in the U.S.-led grouping instead of acting independently for its own interests," Bai Ming, deputy di-rector of the International Market Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Friday.
Cooperation with China would surely benefit Canada, especially after China signaled that a bilateral partnership would be in the interests of both sides, Bai said.
Canada has long been considered a pawn of the U.S., he went on to say, noting that some other countries may have played Canada off against China.
In so doing, Canada, disregarding its true interest, is sowing the seeds of uncertainty over its partnership with China, the expert emphasized.
The Thursday decision put Canada in line with the other four members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that have moved to prohibit or restrict Huawei's access to their 5G networks. The Five Eyes comprises Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Huawei's Canada unit and ZTE have yet to respond to a request for comment.
The Chinese government has long required Chinese firms to carry out outbound eco-nomic cooperation on the basis of abiding by international rules and local laws, accord-ing to the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Canada.
"Huawei and ZTE have always kept very good cybersecurity records. Canada's decision to exclude relevant Chinese firms from its market without any conclusive evidence and on so-called national security grounds is seriously generalizing the concept of national security," the spokesperson said.
This violates market economy and free trade rules and damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese firms, the spokesperson continued, denouncing Canada's claims that the ban was in consultation with its allies as proof that Ottawa acts in concert with Washington to crack down on Chinese firms.
"Canada's so-called 'security' consideration is nothing but an excuse for political maneu-ver," the spokesperson said, stressing that Canada's wrongdoing will surely harm its in-ternational image and self-interests.
China will assess the incident in a comprehensive and solemn manner and will take any measures necessary to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese business-es, according to the spokesperson.