Huawei Technologies Co. lashed out at the U.S. government Tuesday, accusing Washington of orchestrating a campaign to intimidate its employees and launching cyber-attacks to try and infiltrate its internal technology systems.
China’s largest technology company said the American government had instructed law enforcement agencies to threaten and attempt to manipulate its employees. Huawei also accused the U.S. of launching attacks against its networks, the company said in a statement without elaborating.
The accusations ratchet up tensions between Huawei and the Trump administration, which has accused the networking giant of aiding Beijing in espionage and labeled it a national security risk. Washington has blacklisted the Chinese company, curbing the sales of the American technology Huawei needs to make its phones and telecommunications equipment.
“It has been using every tool at its disposal – including both judicial and administrative powers, as well as a host of other unscrupulous means – to disrupt the normal business operations of Huawei and its partners,” the company said in its statement. Other measures included “instructing law enforcement to threaten, menace, coerce, entice, and incite both current and former Huawei employees to turn against the company and work for them.”
Representatives for the U.S. National Security Council didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment outside of normal hours.
Huawei has become a focal point for U.S.-Chinese tensions, regarded by some as a bargaining chip in sensitive trade negotiations. The company is grappling with an existential threat after Washington blocked it from purchasing American technology, cutting off vital supplies from Qualcomm Inc. chipsets to Google’s Android operating software.
The U.S. has also urged countries and companies to reject Huawei technology in their next generation of wireless networks, telling allies it could put their citizens’ data at risk of espionage.