According to sources, Japan says it cannot join a plan that would exclude an entire country
Back in August, the US State Department expanded what it calls the ‘Clean Network’ initiative, a far-reaching network security strategy that would see Chinese companies almost unilaterally banned from US networks.
Athe time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was pushing allied countries to adopt a similar “Clean fortress” strategy, with the government website already denoting Japan as one of the initiative’s key strategic partners.
However, today sources are reporting that Tokyo will not be joining Washington in this comprehensive plan to exclude Chinese firms from telco networks. The Yomiuri newspaper notes that Japanese representatives have told their US counterparts that they cannot participate in a strategy that excludes firms based on their nation of origin.
The report goes on to say that the Clean Network plan itself was not specifically discussed by Pompeo and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi when they met earlier this month, although the US did outline its more general cybersecurity strategy.
Pompeo has been on something of a world tour lately, trying to push various countries to ban Huawei and align themselves with US tech policies surrounding China. At the end of last month Pompeo was in Italy, discussing matters with Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who was found to be very receptive to US demands.
“[We] fully realise the responsibility faced by every country when dealing with security,” said Di Maio.
Europe remains at a major crossroads with regards to US pressure against Huawei and China. While many countries have rejected calls from Washington to ban Huawei from their networks, many more are slowly coming to the conclusion that working with the Chinese vendor will be a difficult prospect due to the waves of US sanctions facing the company’s supply chain. Thus, Germany is rumoured to soon implement stricter cybersecurity laws that will serve to make working with Huawei almost untenable; meanwhile, France’s limitations on the Chinese firm will equate to a de facto ban by 2028.
Tensions surrounding China are hotting up in Asia too. On Sunday, Japan reported Chinese coastguard ships entered Japanese territorial waters in the East China Sea, prompting Japan to unveil a new 3,000-ton submarine in development as part of the country’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.
While Japan is seemingly reluctant to follow directly in the US’ footprints over China, it is highly unlikely its domestic policies regarding its antagonistic neighbour will not be softening any time soon.
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