Canada has announced that it will prohibit two of China’s largest telecom equipment manufacturers from working on its 5G phone networks.
The country’s industry minister announced the restrictions against Huawei and ZTE on Thursday.
According to Francois-Philippe Champagne, the move will improve Canada’s mobile internet services and “protect Canadians’ safety and security.”
However, Huawei Canada stated that it was “disappointed” by the decision, which it described as “political.”
“This is an unfortunate political decision that has nothing to do with cyber security or any of the technologies in question,” a statement said.
Several nations – including the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand – have already put restrictions on the firms.
The four countries, along with Canada, form the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing agreement. During the Cold War, it evolved as a mechanism for monitoring the Soviet Union and sharing classified information.
The announcement by Canada was widely anticipated, as its allies had already barred Huawei and ZTE from their high-speed networks.
Mr Champagne told reporters in the Canadian capital of Ottawa that the decision came after “a thorough review by our security agencies and consultation with our closest allies.”
“Let me be very clear: We will always protect the safety and security of Canadians and will take any actions necessary to safeguard our telecommunication infrastructure,” he added.
“In a 5G world, at a time where we rely more and more in our daily lives [on] our network, this is the right decision.”
According to a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Ottawa, Beijing sees Canada’s security concerns as a “pretext for political manipulation.”
China’s spokesperson also accused Canada of collaborating with the US to suppress Chinese companies.
The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not respond immediately to requests for comment from the BBC.
According to Huawei Canada, its equipment has been “closely scrutinised” by the government and security agencies, and there have been “zero security incidents caused by Huawei equipment.”