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US President Donal Trump is set to issue an executive order later this week which would prohibit Chinese companies from being involved in wireless networks in the United States.
The exclusion of Chinese telecommunications behemoths Huawei and ZTE has drawn bipartisan support in the US House of Representatives, which is notable considering the fractious and hostile political climate in Washington under the Trump administration.
Reports emerging from Washington which cite unnamed sources close to the administration are saying the objective is to issue the order just before the commencement of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of this month.
The executive order would effectively mean a ban on all telecoms equipment supplied by both Huawei and ZTE, which would significantly hurt the coffers of both companies.
The hostility towards both Chinese vendors stems from allegations made by US intelligence agencies that both companies pose a very real threat to national security. However, both Huawei and ZTE vehemently deny the claims and have robustly defended their security record across the world.
The report did highlight that there was no decision yet on how 5G networks would be built in the US without equipment from Huawei.
At the moment, however, no plan had been drawn to manage without equipment from Huawei, with the main push coming from smaller rural ISPs who had benefitted from the use of equipment from the Chinese vendor due to the prices and good service.
US President Donald Trump recently met with tech leaders at the American Leadership in Emerging Technology event which was attended by executives from the country’s leading operators such as AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. Trump said he will give US companies the competitive advantage they need to lead the way in new technological development.
The White House event, which is part of FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s Tech Week in the US, centered on discussions about emerging technologies such as drones and 5G. In a speech addressing the executives at the event, Trump said, “We’re on the verge of new technological revolutions that could improve, virtually, every aspect of our lives.”
Trump promised he would support US companies by helping to “unleash the next generation of technological breakthroughs that will transform our lives and transform our country, and make us number one in this field.”
The President added: “This is a very, very competitive field. You see what’s going on in China and so many other countries and we want to remain number one. We want to go to number one in certain areas where we’re not number one and we’re going to give you the competitive advantage that you need.”
The event also included the US president meeting with other technology leaders such as representatives of Amazon, Google and Microsoft to discuss the government’s technology systems earlier in the week.
In a blog post published prior to Trump’s meeting, Ajit Pai expressed the importance of removing “barriers to innovation” – a topic frequently brought up by the chairman. He said: “In order for us to expand prosperity and extend economic opportunity to more Americans, we must remain on the cutting edge.”
Pai added: “This means that government at all levels must focus on removing barriers to innovation and ensuring that technological advances aren’t strangled by bureaucratic red tape.”
Chinese authorities refuted allegations from the U.S. Defense Department - and insisted that its space program is aimed at bolstering the country’s national development and security. The U.S. Defense Department expressed their fears over China’s space strategy, claiming that it was pursuing space activities that were specifically designed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets during a time of crisis.
Government officials have brushed off the scathing US assessment of their space program policy - and reiterated that China was dedicated to the peaceful use of space – and vehemently opposes a space arms race in a policy paper which was recently issued.
However, President Xi Jinping did express his desire for China to establish itself as a space power – and disclosed that it has tested anti-satellite missiles, in addition to its civilian aims in space. Jinping added that the space program was also an integral part of the country’s overall strategy on development and security.
The policy paper said: “China always adheres to the principle of the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and opposes the weaponization of or an arms race in outer space. The program must also meet the demands of economic, scientific and technological development, national security and social progress.”
The policy paper failed to elaborate on the security part of its strategy, but it did disclose details of its previous weapons testing in the overall history of its space program– which clearly detailed how deeply the military has been involved with it all.
The paper added: "Over the past 60 years of remarkable development since its space industry was established in 1956, China has made great achievements in this sphere, including the development of atomic and hydrogen bombs, missiles, man-made satellites, manned spaceflight and lunar probes.”
China is serious about space exploration and advancement – and it completed its longest manned space mission to date last month, when two astronauts spent 30 days aboard the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, or "Heavenly Palace 2", which China is using to carry out experiments ahead of a longer-range plan to have a permanent manned space station around 2022.
The policy paper also unveiled a plan to launch its first Mars probe by 2020 and to land the first probe ever on the dark side of the moon in 2018, but gave no details about a previously mooted goal of landing a Chinese person on the moon by 2036.
Swedish IT telecoms colossus Ericsson is being forced to deny that they paid out tens of millions of dollars in bribes during 1998-2001.
A number of former executives with Ericsson have sensationally claimed that Ericsson engaged in bribery across a wide range of locations including Malaysia and Poland during that three-year period – and in one alleged instance bribed politicians, senior civil servants and the president of Costa Rica to secure a massive state contract in telecoms.
According to reports in Swedish Newspaper Dagens Nyheter, a former executive named Liss-Olof Nenzell has handed the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents relating to the alleged kickbacks.
The newspaper wrote, "Enormous sums were sent via Zurich from the company headquarters in Sweden to secret recipients around the world," - referring to what it called Nenzell's central role in the scheme.
The publication also alleges that the biggest bribes included 1.4 billion kronor (140 million euros, $150 million), sent to bank accounts in Malaysia, and 763 million kronor sent to Poland, via the British offshore banking haven of Jersey.
Swedish public radio station, SR, further claimed that money was sent to politicians and senior civil servants to Costa Rica, including the then president, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, during a period when Ericsson was vying for a major state contract in telecoms.
SR also revealed it had testimony from "several former top executives," who speaking on condition of anonymity "recounted how they were guilty of active corruption in securing contracts in a large number of countries."
Allegations of systematised bribery against Ericsson are nothing new – and allegations of bribery against the company date back to 2010.
However, Ericsson has always vehemently denied and refuted those allegations of bribery made against them.
A spokesperson for the organisation told Dagens Nyheter, that it “never found any evidence that bribes were allegedly paid”
In June, Ericsson said it was being investigated, including in the US, over what the Swedish press said was a case of alleged corruption in China, and in Greece.
Ericsson issued a profit warning in October, and followed this with the announcement of a net loss of 233 million kronor in the third quarter as operators slowed investment in mobile networks.