The US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence levied some heavy accusations against both Huawei and ZTE in a report this week. Now ZTE has responded, saying it is "disappointed" with the conclusions reached in the report, and calling on the investigation to broaden its scope to include every company that makes telecommunications equipment in China — including companies from the US.
"This finding would apply to any company operating in China. "
In the statement, ZTE refers to itself as "China's most transparent" publicly-traded telecommunications company, with David Dai Shu — the company's director of global public affairs — pointing out that no specific examples of wrongdoing by ZTE were ever discovered. "It is noteworthy that, after a year-long investigation, the Committee rests its conclusions on a finding that ZTE may not be ‘free of state influence,'" Dai Shu says in the statement. "This finding would apply to any company operating in China. The Committee has not challenged ZTE's fitness to serve the US market based on any pattern of unethical or illegal behavior."
ZTE also pledges to continue to work with government agencies and the private sector to allay any fears, again pointing out that it already has a system in place whereby purchasers of ZTE equipment can have the systems examined by a third party to assess any threats — a process that can also include oversight by US government agencies.
"That is the only way to truly protect US equipment and US national security."
Given that so much of the equipment used in the US telecommunications infrastructure comes from or is partially manufactured in China — including that equipment made and sold by companies in the US — ZTE also calls for the Committee to expand the scope of its investigation. "Particularly given the severity of the Committee's recommendations, ZTE recommends that the Committee's investigation be extended to include every company making equipment in China, including the Western vendors." Dai Shu says. "That is the only way to truly protect US equipment and US national security."