ST PETERSBURG (NYTIMES) - Russia has welcomed Chinese telecommunications company Huawei to develop part of its next-generation wireless technology, even as the United States is trying to convince allies the company poses a prohibitive security risk.
Russia said Huawei would help build its new high-speed wireless network, known as 5G, in a deal signed on Thursday (June 6), the first day of a three-day visit by President Xi Jinping of China.
The US' dispute over Huawei suggests the world will be divided, with some countries accepting the Chinese maker's equipment and others not.
The 5G technology will usher in a major leap for all kinds of devices, especially those that are part of the Internet of Things.
US authorities say relying on Huawei equipment would open a window to possible Chinese surveillance of everyday life, with technical breaches possible.
Despite a history of vigilance about foreign spying, with multiple laws intended to protect data, the Kremlin highlighted the agreement between Huawei and MTS, one of the three largest cellphone operators in Russia.
The Kremlin noted that several business deals were signed in a ceremony attended by President Vladimir Putin and President Xi.
Huawei, the world's largest supplier of networking equipment, denies it carries out espionage or could be ordered to do so by the Chinese government.
The company has become a flashpoint in the broader trade dispute between the US and China, with other countries under pressure to decide whether to allow the telecommunications giant to help build their next-generation networks.
US authorities have pressed allies including Britain and Germany to ban Huawei and threatened to restrict intelligence-sharing with nations that let the company inside their networks.
On Thursday, Huawei's vice-president for cyber security and privacy, Mr Mika Lauhde, told The Associated Press that the US sanctions on the company were largely collateral damage in the trade war. Huawei, he said, was, "not the nucleus of the issue".
The feud escalated on Thursday when China's Commerce Ministry said it planned to draw up its own list of "unreliable" foreign companies.
There was no indication of the value of the Russian deal, which was officially a "memorandum of understanding". Such deals are often not binding agreements.