October 1, 2019 / 3:40 PM / 18 days ago

Trump, Finnish president to discuss 5G options to Huawei

FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is pictured at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin, Germany, September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and his Finnish counterpart on Wednesday are expected to discuss ways to improve 5G alternatives to offerings from Chinese telecoms equipment firms like Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], a senior administration official said.

“Finland is home to Nokia which has quickly developed 5G technology that is at least on par with that of Huawei and ZTE (000063.SZ) and presents one of the viable alternatives to those countries that cherish privacy of their citizens’ data, the integrity of their networks, the security of their critical infrastructure,” the official said on Tuesday.

The senior administration official also accused Huawei and ZTE of involvement in “the modern day concentration camps of over 3 million Muslims,” in a reference to China’s detention of mostly Muslim Uighur minorities, in what U.S. officials have described as concentration camps.

Washington has led a worldwide campaign to convince allies to ban Huawei from their 5G networks, alleging the world’s top telecommunications equipment maker could spy on users for Beijing. Huawei has denied the allegations.

Washington has also placed Huawei on a blacklist that prevents U.S. companies from selling most items to the world’s no. 2 cell phone maker, citing national security concerns.

Trump and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto are also expected to touch on what the official described as Russian aggression and Chinese ambitions in the Arctic.

Earlier this year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia was behaving aggressively in the Arctic and China’s actions there had to be watched closely as well, after arriving in northern Finland for a meeting of nations with territory in the region.

Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Tom Brown

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