Germany has put pressure on Chinese tech giant Huawei to guarantee it will keep data secure and will not hand it over to the Chinese government.
During a trip to Japan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told students: "We need to talk to China to ensure that companies do not simply give up all data that is used to the Chinese state." She added that the country is in "big discussions about Huawei" and that there needs to be "safeguards" to protect data.
The firm, which is the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world, has faced public scrutiny from a number of governments concerned its technology could be used by Chinese spies. As a result, Australia, New Zealand and Japan have all banned Huawei as a wireless network provider,while other countries such as the UK and Canada are considering doing the same.
US officials also recently warned EU nations of the security risks of allowing Huawei to help build 5G mobile networks in their countries.
"We are urging folks not to rush ahead and sign contracts with untrusted suppliers from countries like China," a US State Department official told reporters.
However, Huawei has openly denied claims that its products present a security risk, maintaining it is a private company with no ties to the Chinese government. Its leaders, however, have acknowledged that attitudes toward the company are becoming more hostile.
"In the next few years, the overall situation will not be as optimistic as we imagined. We must prepare for hardships," Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei remarked in November.c