German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leaves after a meeting of the German Federal Parliament in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

On the 5th of February, amid mounting security concerns over equipment made by the multinational technology company Huawei, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for safeguards to ensure Chinese firms do not distribute private data to Beijing. Merkel rounded out her China trip with a stop at the high-tech hub of Shenzen, urging the importance of data security.

Merkel, who has been a councillor of Germany since 2005, was the leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union Party from 2000 to 2018, during a two day visit to Tokyo, stated that there was a “big debate” in Germany about importing Huawei equipment, with growing protest to prevent 5G networks being built around the world. However, Germany has taken a sensible approach with the country’s information technology watchdog saying that there is no evidence supporting Huawei uses its technology to spy for Beijing. Along with the growing concerns of German and China’s data security, Merkel says that it is necessary to talk to Beijing “to make sure that the company does not simply give up all data that is used to the Chinese state, but that there are safeguards.” 

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Even though Huawei is a leading supplier in the mobile networks industry and developing markets, the company faces intense scrutiny in the West due to its relationship with the Chinese government and espionage allegations. Huawei stresses that the technology in no way can be used for espionage. During a conference hosted by Merkel, she stated that Germany should “find common ground with the United States on how to deal with China. However, Merkel expressed that she refuses to view China as an enemy and instead views China as an “economic competitor”.

Despite the United States view on Huawei, leaders of Germany, France, and the Netherlands expressed their firm cooperations with the company Huawei by stressing that their governments do not plan to follow the lead of the US and ban Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from involvement in their national 5G high-speed mobile networks, thus reflecting Germany's sensible approach and cooperation towards Huawei.