In 2020, the Trump administration launched the “Clean Network” campaign to stop Communist China from applying Huawei to integrate it into the communication infrastructure of as many countries as possible.
Over 50 nations and 180 telecom companies have joined this initiative, giving the United States a huge win over China’s global agenda to dominate 5G. These countries represent over two-thirds of the world’s economy. They include 26 of 27 members of the European Union, as well as major economies like Japan, India, Singapore, Taiwan, Israel, and Canada.
“In upcoming 5G networks, mobile data traffic entering American diplomatic systems will be subject to new, stringent requirements if it has transited Huawei equipment. The objective is that untrusted IT vendors will have no access to US State Department systems. We will follow the letter of the law to ensure that we have a clean path for all 5G network traffic coming into all of our facilities, period. We will keep doing all we can to keep our critical data and our networks safe from the Chinese Communist Party,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated back in April.
According to the U.S. State Department, Clean Network aims to address the threat to human rights and privacy posed by authoritarian regimes. In August, Pompeo announced an expansion to the program, introducing six new projects:
- Clean Carrier seeks to ensure that Chinese carriers are not connected to American telecommunication networks since communist Chinese companies pose a serious threat to US national security.
- Clean Store aims to remove Chinese apps from American mobile app stores. Many of these apps distribute Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda and censor content. This aim will also protect the private data of American citizens.
- Clean Path is an end-to-end communication system that will not use any components from untrustworthy suppliers like ZTE and Huawei which function under the control of the CCP.
- Clean Apps will prevent untrustworthy Chinese smartphone manufacturers from pre-installing trusted apps on their app store. This will ensure that leading US and international companies are not partnering with a human rights abuser like Huawei.
- Clean Cloud will prevent personal and business data of Americans that is stored or processed through the cloud from being accessed by foreign adversaries like the CCP through its ties with companies like Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba.
- Clean Cable is aimed at making sure that undersea cables which connect the US to the global internet are not subverted by communist Chinese forces.
According to Keith Krach, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, the Clean Network initiative has succeeded in turning the tide on Huawei, proving that “China Inc. is beatable.” He said that the initiative exposed one of the biggest flaws of the Chinese regime and its affiliated companies: lack of trust.
5G contracts outside China
In February, Huawei had signed 91 5G contracts outside China, with 47 of them in Europe and 20 in Asia. But after the launch of America’s Clean Network, Huawei’s deals outside of China dwindled to a dozen, according to Krach. Of the OECD nations, 31 of 37, and 27 of 30 NATO members have signed up for the program.
Another key focus of the Clean Network has been to build a trusted coalition of companies. This includes HP, Oracle, and Fujitsu, which have been brought under the Clean Companies project. If these companies find 5G networks in a specific country untrustworthy, using Huawei tech, for example, then the firms will not invest money to expand their operations in that nation.
Krach said that the Clean Network is only the starting point in establishing a complete economic policy that will lock out authoritarian regimes like communist China from infiltrating democratic countries. Krach explained that preparations have begun for the Clean Infrastructure and Clean Financing initiatives under the Blue Dot Network that will compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.