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Germany to bar Chinese companies' components from core parts of its 5G networks

BERLIN — Germany will bar the use of components made by Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from core parts of the country’s 5G networks, in two steps starting in 2026, the nation’s top security official said Thursday.

Germany, which has Europe’s biggest economy, has long mulled what to do about components made by Chinese suppliers in its new-generation cellphone networks.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Huawei and ZTE components will be barred from 5G core networks by the end of 2026, while “critical management systems” from the two manufacturers in 5G access and transport networks must be replaced by the end of 2029.

The decision follows negotiations with Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica, which operate Germany’s 5G networks, and agreements will be signed with all three companies, the Interior Ministry said.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government last year drew up a strategy for relations with China that refers to a “systemic rivalry” with the Asian power and a need to reduce risks of economic dependency, but highlights Berlin’s desire to work with Beijing on challenges such as climate change and maintain trade ties. The strategy drew criticism from Beijing.

Scholz visited China in April on his second trip to the country since he took office at the end of 2021.

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