Facing a ban on doing business with American suppliers, Chinese telecom giant Huawei has said that it is still open to addressing US security concerns.
US President Donald Trump this week moved to ban American telecom firms from installing foreign-made equipment that could pose a threat to national security amid US-China trade war.
And in a clear strike against Huawei, the Commerce Department separately announced on Wednesday that it had placed Huawei and its dozens of affiliates on a list of firms deemed a risk to national security.
While Huawei has asserted that the decision by the Trump administration to put restrictions on its activities in the US will only harm the interests of American companies and consumers, the company’s US Chief Security Officer Andy Purdy told Yahoo Finance the company remained open to addressing the US security concerns.
“We hope that we will be given the opportunity to talk to the US government about what kinds of risk-mitigation measures that can be put in place that will make America safer and allow us to do business and maintain the jobs of our customers,” Purdy was quoted as saying.
Huawei relies on American suppliers such as Qualcomm, Intel and Oracle for semiconductors and software and restrictions on buying from them could result in product delays for telecommunications equipment more widely used in regions such as Europe, the report said.
Purdy, however, asserted that the American restrictions won’t impact its global footprint.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday turned back resolutions aimed at disapproving multi-billion-dollar arms sales to Bahrain and Qatar, amid continued intensive congressional scrutiny of weapons sales to U.S. allies in the Middle East.
The Senate voted 43-56 against moving the Bahrain resolution out of the Foreign Relations Committee and bringing it to the floor for consideration by the full chamber. It also voted 42-57 against discharging the resolution pertaining to Qatar.
Sponsored by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the resolutions seek to block the Trump administration’s decisions, announced in May, to sell U.S. missile systems to Bahrain and attack helicopters to Qatar, each valued in the $3 billion range.
“The Middle East is a hot cauldron and continually threatening to boil over,” Paul said ahead of the votes. “I think it’s a mistake to funnel arms into these century-old conflicts.”
Paul noted that weapons sent to the Middle East can wind up in the hands of America’s adversaries.
“In Iran to this day, they still have some U.S. weapons that are left over from the weapons the U.S. supplied the shah [U.S.-backed former Iranian leader overthrown in 1979]. In Iraq, some of the weapons we gave them to fight Iran were still there when we returned to fight Saddam Hussein. In Afghanistan, some of the weapons we gave to the Mujahideen to fight the Russians [in the 1980s] were still there when we returned to fight the Taliban [after the 9-11 attacks of 2001],” Paul said.
Last year, the Senate also defeated an effort by the Kentucky Republican to block the sale of rocket systems to Bahrain.
Bipartisan backing for such sales endured on Thursday, as even some senators who voted in favor of the discharge petitions as a procedural matter told VOA they do not support the underlying resolutions of disapproval.
“I support the [arms] sales,” said the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez of New Jersey. “On the process, I’m voting to preserve the [Senate’s] institutional rights…for at least a debate to be had over the sales, but I support the underlying sales.”
Other lawmakers spoke out against the discharge petitions as well as the resolutions.
“If they [Gulf states] don’t buy arms from us, they’re going to buy them from China or Russia,” Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told VOA. “Look, these countries are not democracies, we recognize that. But our interests are aligned, particularly in containing and combating Iran.”
Bahrain has taken part in the Saudi-led coalition waging an air campaign over Yemen that has resulted in a staggering death toll in the country’s bloody civil war.
Asked if the bloodshed in Yemen gave him pause about U.S. arms sales to the region, Cornyn said, “It does. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot we can do about it. It’s a civil war that the Iranians are trying to take advantage of, arming the Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia. I don’t think that should paralyze us, even though it’s a serious concern.”
The Senate could vote as early as next week on separate resolutions disapproving $8.1 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
In the House of Representatives, four Democrats filed resolutions Wednesday that, if passed, would block the licenses required for the sales to move ahead.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump vetoed a bipartisan congressional resolution ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition targeting Yemen.
Aside from the Yemeni conflict, lawmakers from both parties have repeatedly protested Saudi Arabia’s role in the October 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. (VOA)