WASHINGTON: Amid growing security concern over misuse of 5G technologies by Chinese companies, leaders of the United States, Japan, Australia and India on Friday agreed to advance the deployment of “secure, open and transparent” 5G telecommunications networks and work to bolster supply chain security for semiconductors.
Discussion at the first in-person summit of the leaders of the four democracies, which are known as the Quad reflected the concerns of the member countries about the concentration of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing capacity largely in China and also the hold of the Asian country on 5G networks.
In Washington, US President Joe Biden was joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and they focussed on cooperation on critical and emerging technologies.
“We have established cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, to ensure the way in which technology is designed, developed, governed, and used is shaped by our shared values and respect for universal human rights,” said the joint statement of Quad leaders put out by the White House after the summit.
“In partnership with industry, we are advancing the deployment of secure, open, and transparent 5G and beyond-5G networks, and working with a range of partners to foster innovation and promote trustworthy vendors and approaches such as Open-RAN,” the statement added.
The US has been at the forefront of an effort to restrict the use of Huawei equipment in 5G mobile networks, citing serious security issues.
Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp were designated as national security threats by the US, saying they have close ties with the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus.
Huawei is also facing resistance from other governments over the risk that its technology could be used for espionage.
“Acknowledging the role of governments in fostering an enabling environment for 5G diversification, we will work together to facilitate public-private cooperation and demonstrate in 2022 the scalability and cybersecurity of open, standards-based technology. With respect to the development of technical standards, we will establish sector-specific contact groups to promote an open, inclusive, private-sector-led, multi-stakeholder, and consensus-based approach. We will also coordinate and cooperate in multilateral standardization organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union,” said the joint statement.
Moreover, the Quad countries also said that they are mapping the supply chain of critical technologies and materials, including semiconductors.
“We affirm our positive commitment to resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains of critical technologies, recognizing the importance of government support measures and policies that are transparent and market-oriented,” said the statement.
The leaders also reiterated that they will monitor critical and emerging technologies of the future, beginning with biotechnology.
“We are monitoring trends in the critical and emerging technologies of the future, beginning with biotechnology, and identifying related opportunities for cooperation,” said the statement.
The Quad countries also launched Quad Principles on Technology Design, Development, Governance, and Use that will guide not only the region but the world towards responsible, open, high-standards innovation.