Security concerns about the role of Huawei in Western 5G telecom infrastructure are to be taken seriously, the head of NATO said Thursday, as Washington steps up pressure on Europe not to use the Chinese firm.
The US and several other Western nations have shut Huawei out of tenders for the development of super-fast fifth-generation, or 5G, networks, because of the company's close ties to the Chinese government.
"We are now consulting closely on this issue including on the security aspects on investments in 5G networks."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that Berlin would consult Washington over using Huawei technology after reports of US threats to scale back intelligence cooperation.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the US ambassador had warned Berlin that Washington could cut intelligence and other information exchanges if Huawei technology was built into Germany's 5G telecoms infrastructure.
The Chinese telecoms behemoth has strenuously denied allegations its equipment could be used for espionage.
"We're concerned about their telecommunications backbone being compromised in the sense that, particularly with 5G, the bandwidth capability and ability to pull data is incredible," he told the House Armed Services Committee.
Stoltenberg said creating 5G networks was a trade and economic issue but also had security implications.
"That's the reason why we will continue to consult, continue to assess and look into whether NATO has a role to play in addressing the securty aspects related to this kind of infrastcture," he said.
NATO has been stepping up its defences against cyber warfare in recent years as the domain takes on an increasingly vital role in modern conflict.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)