The U.S. tightening restrictions on Huawei access to technology, chips and networking equipment are designed to protect the U.S. military and national security agencies from China’s cyber-espionage capabilities. However, these tightening restrictions could have a more subtle benefit – limiting Chinese access to American consumers. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, American companies are working with Huawei to develop chips that can bypass U.S. censorship and access to the military’s networks.
It is not easy for a company in China to penetrate the U.S. defense industry. Huawei has had problems with the Chinese government in the past and was kicked out of the country in 2020. The company was also shut down by a U.S. Department of Commerce investigation into possible economic espionage. In other words, the Chinese government doesn’t have much to lose by working with Huawei to develop new technologies and gain access to networks that connect U.S. military personnel to U.S. government databases.
A recent article in the Washington Post claimed that China’s “goal” is to expand its influence into the United States and into its infrastructure. The post also said, “A Chinese-backed firm was awarded a $700 million contract to design a fiber-optic telephone network for the military.” This contract was reportedly awarded to a company called Sanyo Communications. The company is led by a Chinese national named Zhu Yulan. He is reportedly an expert in computer networking, communications and manufacturing.
According to the Post, “Zhu told the newspaper that he was not aware of the details of the contract and called it a commercial transaction.” He did not reply to an e-mailed question asking if he could discuss how the company would affect the security of the U.S. military. The company is also in the process of acquiring a joint venture in the United Kingdom and is reportedly negotiating a deal to provide telecommunications equipment to India’s government as well.
The United States government will be watching to see if China is successfully developing advanced military technologies in this way. If the Chinese are able to circumvent U.S. censorship, they will have access to the U.S. government’s classified networks and data.
It is possible that China’s intentions are purely commercial, but if they do use their access to U.S. military networks to gain access, there could be major ramifications for the U.S. military. When a foreign country develops and deploys technology that makes it easier for them to infiltrate the U.S. defense industry or compromise sensitive information about the U.S. military, they could potentially pose a risk to American troops. Additionally, by having an unfettered network, they may be able to intercept signals sent from U.S. Navy ships or U.S. aircraft.
It appears that the U.S. government is concerned with the growing influence of China on the U.S. economy. But what does China want? Why would they want to control the U.S. military? They might just be looking to build their own network, perhaps to gain access to U.S. defense contractors and/or to gain better access to U.S. military databases.
One obvious reason is to gain access to the Internet – as suggested by the Post. Another possible motive is to build a “Google-style” search engine that allows Chinese citizens to access the military networks and databases. And it appears that they already have built the capability to gain access to our networks and databases: Google recently announced that China’s largest search engine was the second-largest search engine in the world, with over one billion daily users.
The U.S. has always said that China is the leading economic power in the world. Is it simply coincidence that they have been able to easily penetrate the U.S. defense industry so quickly, particularly given China’s past history in infiltrating other industries and penetrating U.S. networks? Indeed, one suspects that this might just be one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. in dealing with China. What’s worse, though?
In fact, this is just one of the most important questions that needs to be answered by the U.S. in dealing with China. Will we continue to allow our intelligence agencies to rely on China for access to their networks to protect our national security? or will we develop our own networks ourselves?
With the Chinese on the move and looking to gain access to our networks to gain access to our defense industry and potentially compromise sensitive U.S. information, it makes sense to review the U.S. government’s current approach to dealing with China and consider its relationship with China in these areas. Think on this.