Pelosi, Pompeo turn up the heat on China's Huawei at security conference

And China responds, saying criticisms about the security of its tech are based on "lies" and an unwillingness to "accept the success of a socialist country," a report says.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
2 min read

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi airs her concerns about China's Huawei at a press conference Sunday at the Munich Security Conference.

Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Rhetoric heated up over the weekend about the US use of Chinese networking equipment, with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday reportedly warning it would be akin to "choosing autocracy over democracy."

"It is about putting the state police in the pocket of every consumer in these countries, because of the Chinese way," Pelosi said during a press conference at the Munich Security Conference, according to CNBC.

Pelosi on Friday had reportedly warned against doing business with Chinese telecom Huawei , calling it the "most insidious form of aggression" and called on other nations to work with US in the global race to develop 5G networks.

"And so, you ask about an alternative, and what I said a couple of days ago and yesterday, is that it should not be a sinofication of the information highway but an internationalization of it," she reportedly added at the Sunday press conference.

Pelosi is part of a bipartisan delegation at the Munich conference voicing concern about Huawei. In speeches there, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described Huawei and other tech companies backed by China as "Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence" and Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Beijing is carrying out a "nefarious strategy" via Huauei, according to CNBC.

China Foreign Minister Wang Yi shot back at the conference, reportedly saying US criticisms of Beijing were "lies" not based on facts.

"The root cause of all these problems and issues is that the US does not want to see rapid development and rejuvenation of China, still less would they want to accept the success of a socialist country, but that is not fair, China has the right to develop," Wang said, according to another CNBC report.

The US last year banned the use of Huawei's networking equipment, citing fears that close links between the company and the Chinese government could mean the company poses a spying risk, something Huawei has always vehemently denied.

Just this week we learned that the US Department of Justice is charging Huawei and two of its US subsidiaries with racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets.

The US has also continued to pressure allies to block the company for their next-generation 5G wireless networks. However, January saw UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving the company approval to build non-core parts of the country's 5G infrastructure.

Watch this: Huawei against the world (The 3:59, Ep. 564)