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No block to future a smarter approach: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-02-22 20:43


Time and tide wait for no one. And neither does technology as we rush pell-mell toward a brave new world of artificial intelligence and things talking to things.

And there is much to be gained, economically and otherwise, by being able to rule this much-heralded smart roost.

As the White House has put it: In the information age, the nation that leads the world in wireless technology wins.

Which is why it has been trying to incapacitate China's 5G technology leader Huawei.

Even though, as Andreas Maierhofer, the CEO of T-Mobile Poland, said at a news conference on Thursday, excluding Huawei, which is the market leader in 5G technology, will delay the ushering in of next generation wireless networks.

Which is why the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Germany have snubbed Washington's invitation to join it in its efforts to debilitate Huawei. It is not, as the United States seems to believe, because of its allies' lack of allegiance, but rather their practical needs to embrace the new technology, for which the United States can offer no substitute provider.

That Washington cannot recommend any US companies that can step into the breach is a cause of extreme concern to it, and that is at the heart of its complaints against Huawei and its attacks on China's technology and innovation drive.

However, against this background of competition, it seems the intensive discussions between the US and China over the past two and a half months, may have enabled the US to heed at least a little reason. On Thursday, US President Donald Trump set out a more fair-minded approach by tweeting that the US should win leadership in 5G through competition, "not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies".

Although it is perhaps too early to anticipate an end to the US attacks on Huawei, the tweet is an encouraging sign to all parties that change might be in the air.

Hopefully, having realized that fair competition is better than resorting to underhand tricks to hobble a rival, Washington will be able to go one step further, and turn what it views as a crisis into what it really is — an opportunity to strengthen cooperation in technology and innovation with countries, including China, so as to create new impetus for shared development and mutual benefits.

As the world stands ready to step across the threshold into the world of 5G; this is no time to be squabbling over who goes first, countries should embrace the imminent arrival of ubiquitous connectivity as an opportune time to become closer to one another rather than turning it into a divisive moment.

However, that is to optimistically look ahead and still far removed from things as they stand, because until there is some noticeable convergence between the sentiment in Trump's tweet and his administration's practice, Huawei is likely to remain disappointed even in its hope for "real competition", never mind cooperation.

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