Norway not naïve with regards to Huawei

Huawei MSCWolfgang Ischinger (Ambassador, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference), Timothy Garton Ash (Professor of European Studies, Oxford University), and Sabine Weyand (Deputy Chief Negotiator, Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50, European Commission). Photo: MSC / Oellermann

Norway not naïve with regards to Huawei, says Solberg

Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) has not concluded on Huawei. Norway has, however, put in place the regulations needed to safeguard the security, she maintains.

“We haven’t been naive. We have made sure to have a workable law,” the Norwegian Prime Minister tells NTB.

She spends the weekend at the large security conference in the German city Munich (MSC), where China’s emergence as a military, economic and technological superpower is an important topic.

“I believe that we are now experiencing a change of era,” the Leader of the Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, warns in his kick-off speech on Friday.

“We seem to be entering another era of superpower rivalry,” he continues.

Huawei and 5G

It is especially the Chinese mobile giant Huawei who has got the critical spotlight directed at it.

The fear is that Huawei’s investments in strategically important infrastructure – including the 5G mobile network – can open the door to Chinese espionage in Western countries.

In Norway, the Police Security Service (PST) has stated that it will be problematic if Huawei is involved in the development of the Norwegian 5G networks. According to PST chief, Benedicte Bjørnland, the distance is short between the Chinese company and the regime.

Both Telia and Telenor use equipment from Huawei in their 4G networks in Norway already.

According to Solberg, the Norwegian Government has still not concluded on the question of which regulations should apply when 5G is to be rolled out across the country.

“So I’m not delving into that. We have not finished making these assessments,” she informs NTB.

Updated the book of rules

“What the Government, however, already has done – is to put in place a framework that ensures that Norway can handle these types of challenges,” Solberg asserts.

“This may not be what we have talked about the most in recent years, but through changes in laws and regulations, we have put in place a clear and equitable legal basis. This to be able to make security assessments in questions regarding investments,” she elaborates.

She specifically highlights the Security Act. In addition, adjustments have been made in sectoral laws, including the Petroleum Act, to ensure that security policy assessments can be weighted more.

Norway under cross pressure

The case is a tricky dilemma for Norway, which has recently come out of the “freezer” after the long-lasting conflict with China. A conflict that arose after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, in 2010.

At the same time, Norway is experiencing pressure from the United States. The US demands that European countries do more to keep the Chinese influence in check.

“This puts Norway between a rock and a hard place. If Norways chooses the one, the other is offended, NUPI Director, Ulf Sverdrup, points out. He is among the conference participants in Munich as well.”

According to Sverdrup, the trade-offs can be even more difficult for Norway because we are outside of the EU. An EU that is now preparing to coordinate its China policy more closely.

Solberg, however, tones down the importance of the American pressure.

“Our point of departure is our own security policy assessments,” the Prime Minister insists.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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