Chinese diplomacy advised Portugal to “make rational political choices autonomously”, regarding a possible ban of Huawei from the European country´s 5G networks, and warned of consequences such as “breaking ties”.
“We hope that the Portuguese side makes rational political choices autonomously and adheres to the creation of an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment”, said the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a note sent to the Portuguese news agency, Lusa.
The same source stressed that “building walls and barriers” and “breaking ties” only “harms the most vulnerable”, after an advisory body of the Portuguese Government deliberated the de facto exclusion of Chinese companies from the development of fifth generation networks (5G).
“Cooperation with mutual benefits is the only right path”, the Chinese Government underlined.
The deliberation does not mention the names of companies or countries, but comes after years of pressure exerted by Washington on allied countries to exclude the Chinese technological group Huawei from telecommunications infrastructures.
The United States points to China’s National Intelligence Law, which stipulates that “all organizations and citizens must support, assist and cooperate with the State in matters of National Intelligence”.
According to Portuguese daily Jornal de Negócios, the Chinese authorities were perplexed and surprised by the decision adopted at the end of last week by the Superior Council for Cyberspace Security to exclude companies from outside the EU, the USA and the OECD.
The same source added that Beijing could use some of its many investments in Portugal, which include EDP and REN, to confront the Government with what they consider to be the injustice of this decision.
China has been, for several years, the fourth largest investor in the country, having invested close to EUR 11.22 billion in Portugal in 2022.