The U.S. government is embarking on a push to persuade developing countries to shun Chinese telecommunications equipment, offering financial assistance to use alternatives that Washington says are safer and have fewer strings attached.
The U.S. is ready to offer loans and other financing, potentially worth billions of dollars in total, to countries to buy hardware from suppliers in democratic countries rather than from China, said Bonnie Glick, the deputy administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is spearheading the effort.
The agency, better known for providing food assistance than technology, will dispatch staff to meet politicians and regulators in the developing world, she said, aiming to persuade them that using telecom equipment from two Chinese giants, Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. , is a bad idea.
The offer of financial assistance represents a new tool Washington is deploying as it broadens the tech Cold War with China. The Trump administration has been trying to curb Chinese technological advances over what it says are concerns about spying and trade practices.
Washington for two years has lobbied allies to join the U.S. in banning Chinese-made equipment for networks using 5G wireless technology, which promises superfast speeds to enable driverless vehicles, more efficient factories and other innovations.