5G is a centerpiece of China’s ambition to lead technology for the globe, according to Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham. He said China has the ability to “weaponize” technology like 5G.

“They seek to maximize the opportunities they have for extending their influence in the world and underpinning their global position and power,” he said in a phone interview on Thursday.

The U.S. has responded with an aggressive campaign to block Huawei in its own borders and to lobby traditional allies against it, too. Australia banned Huawei’s 5G equipment, Japan effectively did the same, and countries in Europe are assessing possible security threats.

Regardless, China is off to a strong start in the 5G race.

China “came out of the starting blocks,” according to Bill Lawrence, a lawyer focused on wireless telecommunications at U.S. firm Burr & Forman.

“At the end of the day, the U.S. is trying to outpace China for the lead,” he said.


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