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Huawei sacks employee arrested in Poland on espionage charges

Poland urges European Union and Nato to develop joint position on technology giant

Several Western countries have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets. Photograph: EPA

Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei said on Saturday it had sacked an employee arrested in Poland on spying charges in a case that could intensify Western security concerns about the company.

Poland’s internal affairs minister, Joachim Brudzinski, called for the European Union and Nato to work on a joint position over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets following the arrest of the Chinese employee and a former Polish security official on Friday.

Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with China’s government and US-led allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for spying.

No evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has repeatedly denied the accusations. But several Western countries have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets.

In August, US president Donald Trump signed a bill that barred the US government from using Huawei equipment and is mulling an executive order that would also ban US companies from doing so.

What is Huawei’s reaction to arrests?

Seeking to distance itself from the incident, Huawei said it had sacked Wang Weijing, whose “alleged actions have no relation to the company”.

“In accordance with the terms and conditions of Huawei’s labor contract, we have made this decision because the incident has brought Huawei into disrepute,” said the tech giant.

“Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based,” it added.

Huawei spokesman Joe Kelly declined to give any further details.

A spokesman for the Polish security services had said the allegations related to individual actions and were not linked directly to Huawei Technologies Cos Ltd.

A deputy digital affairs minister in Poland said, however, that Warsaw was analysing any involvement by Huawei in building the country’s 5G telecommunications infrastructure, reported

Any decision by Western governments over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets would have to consider the possible impact on the speed and cost of 5G development, say analysts.

“My best-case outcome is that Europe uses this window of opportunity and figures out how to have a minimal risk for the best network possible,” said Jan-Peter Kleinhans, an IT security expert at Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, a Berlin-based think tank.

A LinkedIn profile for Mr Wang showed he has worked for Huawei’s Polish division since 2011 and previously served as attache to the Chinese General Consul in Gdansk from 2006-2011.

China’s foreign ministry has expressed concern over the episode and is urging Poland to handle the case “justly”. – Reuters