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Secretary of State Pompeo: Huawei's CEO 'isn't telling the American people the truth' on China government ties

Jessica Bursztynsky

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC on Thursday that Huawei does indeed work with the Chinese government, despite denials by the China-based telecom giant.

"For them to say that they don't work with the Chinese government is false," Pompeo said. "The Huawai CEO on that, at least, isn't telling the American people the truth."

"If you're a state-directed business and you take on subsidies direct from the Chinese government, there's no doubt you can make real hay," he said on "Squawk Box." "I think the world wants systems they can trust."

Huawei, a leader in 5G technology, has been trying to win contracts around the world, including Britain and Germany, to build the network that will make the internet exponentially faster.

Pompeo has been critical of Chinese technology companies in the past and met with British leaders earlier this month to discuss securing U.S. intelligence against Huawei.

The secretary of State told CNBC he's been "explaining the risks" about national security as he travels around the world to meet with government leaders.

Last week, the White House effectively blacklisted Huawei, making it harder to continue to do business with American companies.

The Trump administration is also cracking down on what it considers unfair trade practices by China.

There's been no meeting scheduled between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese officials regrading talks to end the U.S.-China trade war, but Pompeo said he's hoping that changes soon.

"It is important for the conversation to continue," Pompeo said. "I've seen them make real progress, and I hope that they can continue to make it."

Chinese officials have been telling the Trump administration that the latest U.S. actions on trade are preventing negotiations from continuing.

"If the U.S. would like to keep on negotiating it should, with sincerity, adjust its wrong actions. Only then can talks continue," Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said Thursday.

China's senior diplomat told Pompeo on Saturday that the administration's recent words has harmed Chinese interests and shouldn't go "too far" in current trade dispute.

Pompeo told CNBC he knows the U.S. isn't asking for modest changes in trade rules, but said it's important for the nation.

"It's no doubt a big ask, but it's important for the U.S., and President Trump is firmly committed," he said.