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Fears over 5G: Merkel sounds warnings over Huawei spying claims

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By Trent Murray
Fears over 5G: Merkel sounds warnings over Huawei spying claims
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on European countries to agree on a common approach towards China.

In particular, Chancellor Merkel says Europe needs a unified policy on the rollout of the next-generation 5G mobile network. Some German lawmakers want to exclude China's Huawei from 5G contracts, following warnings from the United States about the potential for espionage. Huawei denies the allegations made by Washington.

Speaking in Germany's Bundestag, Merkel told lawmakers she wanted to see greater collaboration between Europe's capitals to address the spying concerns or "mixed signals will be sent out," she said.

"That would be disastrous not for China but for us in Europe. It's undisputed that we need high-security standards for 5G expansion but we need to discuss this with the other European partners, just like we are discussing it among ourselves," she added.

But the German Chancellor said that blacklisting individual firms wasn't necessarily the answer to alleviate concerns.

"China does have a different social system, a totally different one. There is a system competition. But I am not sure the answer to the system competition, and this is something we know from the Cold War, should be isolation," she said.

"Rather, the answer to the system competition must also be that we assume with self-confidence that we can set our standards without proclaiming total isolation. That's at least my view."

Earlier, France will not follow the United States' exclusion of Huawei from its 5G network but will have the power to vet all equipment makers for any potential security threat, a minister said on Monday