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Pompeo: Countries that use Huawei tech pose a risk to the US

The US again discourages Europe from using Huawei's 5G technology.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: "The risk to privacy from [Huawei] technology is very, very real."
Getty Images

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said the US won't partner with countries that adopt Huawei's technology.

The move stance arises from security concerns Washington has about the Chinese maker of smartphones and networking equipment.

"If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won't be able to share information with them," Pompeo said during an interview with Fox Business. "In some cases there's risk -- we won't even be able to co-locate American resources, an American embassy, an American military outpost."

Huawei has been accused of sharing information with the Chinese government, an allegation the company has denied. A number of countries have banned the use of Huawei's networking equipment and turned down the company's 5G pitch. Earlier this month, the US government discouraged European countries from using Huawei's 5G technology.

Now playing: Watch this: Huawei CEO thanks US for 'promoting' its 5G program

Pompeo emphasized the security risks to Europeans again on Thursday.

"We can't forget these systems were designed with express work alongside the Chinese PLA, their military in China," he said. "The risk to privacy from this technology is very, very real."

In an interview Thursday with CBS This Morning, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei took issue with US government's characterizations of his company and said he still hopes to bring its equipment to the US someday.

"They've been regarding 5G as the technology at the same level of the -- some other military equipment. 5G is not an atomic bomb," he said. "Now we are rolling out 5G, and soon we'll welcome 6G. And in the future, I said there will be new equipment that is suitable for the United States."

William Wu, CEO of Huawei in Hungary, responded to Pompeo's comment.

"We would encourage all governments to take an objective look at the evidence and maintain an open, engaged approach to 5G and other network developments," he said in an email statement. "We believe the solution to more secure networks lies in co-operation across the whole industry. Excluding one supplier from technological developments in cyber security will damage technical and economic progress and harm competition in the ICT market."

First published on Feb. 21, 1:03 p.m. PT.

Updates on Feb. 22, 7:05 a.m. PT: Adds Huawei's response.