"Choose Huawei or else" — Denmark's tiny self-governing archipelago of the Faroe Islands has reportedly been threatened by Beijing over plans for Chinese telecom giant Huawei's 5G roll out in the island autonomous region which lies halfway between Norway and Iceland.
The major Danish national daily newspaper based in Copenhagen, Berlingske, broke the story based on a recording of China's ambassador to Denmark making a quid pro quo threat after the Faroe Islands promised 5G by 2020 to all of its citizens.
The threat, involving dangling a free trade agreement before local officials, was reportedly caught on tape, but an ongoing legal battle has prevented its release.
According to a rough English translation of the Berlingske exclusive:
The Chinese ambassador to Denmark, Feng Tie, has directly threatened top people in the Faroese government to secure a strategically important contract for Chinese telecom giant Huawei. If the company did not get the contract, the Chinese government would drop a free trade agreement with the Faroe Islands.
This is evidenced by a hitherto unreleased sound recording obtained by Berlingske.
It is the first to reveal of how the Chinese government has linked access to the gigantic Chinese market along with Huawei's European contracts on 5G networks. Externally, Huawei emphasizes being a private company not associated with the Chinese state.
The audio clip of the threat was reportedly blocked by court order soon before a Danish TV station was set to air it. It has not been made public.
The original audio is said to be in possession of Faroese TV station Kringvarp Føroyas and reportedly includes audio of a Chinese official verbalizing a 'deal' before the Faroe Islands' foreign minister.
The US ambassador in Denmark, Carla Sands, has long been on record publicly warning against allowing Huawei to establish a the 5G network on the Faroe islands.
Interestingly, she reportedly blocked a former CIA analyst deemed critical of President Trump from giving a keynote address at a Tuesday event entitled "Celebrating NATO's 70th Anniversary" at the Frederiksberg Palace in Copenhagen.
According to NBC, Ambassador Sands personally oversaw the cancellation of the speech:
But before the former CIA analyst could set off for the Scandinavian country Saturday, the Danish Atlantic Council, which was organizing the sold-out event, said it was contacted by the U.S. Embassy.
...The think tank's Secretary General Lars Bangert Struwe told NBC News that the embassy was "concerned over some tweets" from Sloan and "asked us on behalf of the ambassador to cancel him."
The former CIA speaker, who currently is a visiting professor from Vermont’s Middlebury College, was expected to address a sold-out event.
No doubt this means that if the Faro Islands moves forward with Huawei 5G, they can expect major repercussions out of Washington, which would likely be conveyed to Copenhagen first.