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Trump's tech chief slams countries for 'opening their arms' to Huawei

Michael Kratsios highlights the alleged dangers of letting Chinese companies access 5G networks.

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US Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios singled out Huawei in his Web Summit speech.

Angela Lang/CNET

President Donald Trump's chief technology officer, Michael Kratsios, is urging European countries to join the US in "taking a stand" against Chinese companies like Huawei as they try to dominate the next-gen 5G wireless networks and artificial intelligence markets. Speaking at Web Summit in Lisbon on Thursday, Kratsios noted the danger of countries "opening their arms" to these companies as they upgrade their networking infrastructure.

Huawei said last month that it signed more than 60 commercial contracts to provide 5G equipment, even after Trump effectively banned it from US networks due to its suspected links with the Chinese government.

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Kratsios, who became US CTO in August, highlighted an alleged instance of spying. 

"In perhaps the most disturbing account of espionage news outlets have reported after Huawei installed communications technology equipment at the headquarters of the African Union, their computer system was hacked and data was transferred to servers in Shanghai, every single night for five years," he said, referring to a 2018 report from Le Monde.

Huawei responded to Kratsios' remarks with a release Thursday saying that the allegations were "hypocritical and manifestly false" and that following the Trump administration's lead would slow Europe down.

Correction 5:35 a.m. PT: This story initially misstated the timing of Kratsios' address. He spoke on Thursday.