New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman proposed allowing the Chinese Communist Party-tech firm Huawei – labeled a “national security threat” by the Trump administration and decades-long military collaborator by the Department of Defense – to implement its technology in the state of Idaho.
The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner advanced the bizarre proposal during an interview with the state-run media outlet China Global Television Network (CGTN):
“One of the things I’ve actually suggested is that say to Huawei we are going to let you wire a single state – Idaho say – for a couple of years, and we’ll see how it goes. We need to build a pathway for Huawei to become what we consider a good international actor.”
“China’s our economic peer. One day it may be our equal. One day it may be our superior for all I know,” he adds.
Huawei has extensive links to both the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army, prompting the U.S. State Department to identify it as an “arms of the state – or, more precisely, the Chinese Communist Party.” Labeled a “national security threat” by the Trump administration and a decades-long Chinese military collaborator by the U.S. Department of Defense, Huawei routinely provides the Chinese Communist Party backdoor access to its products, networks, and devices. The U.S. State Department also emphasized that the Chinese Communist Party uses Huawei as an “instrument not only for making money but also for pursuing the Party-State’s agenda and fulfilling its strategic objectives […] deeply enmeshed in Beijing’s system of oppression at home and its increasingly assertive strategic ambitions globally.”
The interview follows various Chinese state-run media outlets hyping the New York Times columnist’s writings and comments from an event at the state-run Center for China and Globalization. During the CGTN interview, the host also reveals she’s a “fan” of Friedman, who in turn reveals they are “old friends.”
In the interview, Friedman also calls for closer U.S.-China ties, insisting “I’m a romantic for that previous era of integration.”
“I want as many Chinese students in our universities as we can possibly fit. We have almost 350,000 to 400,000. I’d like to double it,” he asserts despite U.S. intelligence officials cautioning the potential for espionage and intellectual property theft. “I hope one of the first things that happens is that China lifts its restrictions on foreign journalists, that we lift our restrictions on Chinese journalists,” Friedman also reveals as one of his post-pandemic desires.