General James Jones: "Allowing China to develop 5G technology puts Europe at risk"
In a world in which a war can be fought over the internet, decisions made in Europe are deeply concerning for Washington. Large telephone companies are preparing to launch their new 5G technology, which will be up to 20 times faster than the current 4G. The problem, seen from the Pentagon, is that, for reasons of cost, the Europeam operators are buying from China the devices to develop the new mobile networks. James L. Jones (Kansas, 1943) has embarked on a mission to explainin to the world the risk involved in relying on Chinese companies.
- What risk entails that 5G development is given to the Chinese?
- China is a communist country, whose ideology is summarized in the control of its citizens, through the restriction of their individual freedoms, something incompatible with our values. 5G technology will change everything in our society and there are countries that are allowing for it to be developed by companies controlled by the Chinese government, which infringes individual freedoms and intellectual property.
- Those who develop the technology are private companies. Should the government intervene?
- A NATO country cannot acquire technology from a communist country, especially a country as important in the alliance as Spain. The government may have to make a decision about it.
- In Spain we have two American military bases ...
- I've been to them many times.
- Is there a risk for the secret communications in and out of the bases?
- Not only is it a security issue of the bases. Imagine what will happen if in a few years we have smart cities in which there are 5,000 cars without a driver, and through the manipulation of 5G networks a foreign group can cause 2,000 accidents just by infiltrating the network. The consequences are very serious. If I were in the place of the government of Spain, I would ask myself what priorities I have in terms of national security and look for technological alternatives.
- Why is Chinese technology so cheap?
- The reason why Chinese technology is up to 40% cheaper is that it is subsidized by the government, there is no doubt. Now, you acquire what you pay for, and it is a fact that Chinese companies do not give us guarantees that we can control the technology we buy from them. This is a serious national security problem for Spain.
- This new technology made in the USA that your are talking about, is it private?
- Yes, it is a private initiative. It is true that in the US government has lagged behind in these new technologies and it is arriving somewhat late. But the private sector has got to work and is working on a type of 5G technology that will be impenetrable and we will offer to our NATO allies.
- When will they offer it?
- I think that in less than 12 months European countries will be able to count on this technology so they don't have to depend on China.
- The Trump administration has warned that it will restrict the intelligence information it shares with Europe if they continue to acquire 5G technology from China. Do you think it is an appropriate decision?
- They have no other choice. It would be very problematic to share intelligence through vulnerable networks to countries outside NATO and its allies such as China. As I said, Chinese companies are subject to the control of their government and their technology is not safe.