Pence: Huawei is Security Threat, But...

Vice President Mike Pence, in an interview with Fox News' Bret Baer, said unequivocally that Chinese Telecom Huawei is a national security threat, but also that it could be part of trade talks with China.

When pressed by Baer on The President's suggestion that Huawei might be a "chess piece" in ongoing talks with China about trade and tariffs, and might be on the table as a way to get China back to the table, despite the Chinese telecom's threat to U.S. national security, Pence was firm, but still suggested there was some "play" in that firm.

Related: Sen. Hawley Targets Tech Exports to China

The Commerce Department last month announced it had put Huawei on a suspect company list that leaves its future in the U.S. very much in doubt and the President at the same time issued an executive order blocking deals for suspect tech, like that of Huawei's.

The President also sent a letter to Congress saying that he was declaring a national emergency "to deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries." Huawei would seem to fit that bill.

Pence said Monday (June 10) that "the position of the United States of America is that Huawei, which the Communist party of China and their government have complete access to, all of the data they collect, represents a fundamental compromise of our national security and of the national security of our allies and we will continue to stand firm in that regard."

But then he said he thought what the President was communicating was "all of these issues were open to discussion." He then said what the President had made clear to China's president and the G20 is that "things have to change, including the theft of intellectual property and a return to adherence to historic rules governing international trade "for generations."

But trying to reconcile the President being open to discussion on Huawei and Huawei being declared a national security threat and technology to be avoided and even expunged, Baer asked whether the Vice President saw the disconnect. "Isn't it one or the other."

"Pence essentially repeated that it was a fundamental threat but that the President "wanted to get people to the table" so he would be willing to talk about "everything."

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.