Former German chancellor Schroeder criticizes U.S. threat over 5G expansion

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BERLIN, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Germany's former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has criticized the United States' threat to withhold intelligence over the expansion of Germany's 5G network.

The former chancellor criticized the United States' threat to withhold intelligence information from Germany if Chinese companies such as Huawei would be involved in the expansion of Germany's 5G internet network.

Xu Zhijun, Huawei's rotating CEO, introduces achievements of 5G technology during the release ceremony for world leading Internet scientific and technological achievements in Wuzhen, east China's Zhejiang Province, Dec. 3, 2017. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)

"This is such blatant blackmail," Schroeder said Tuesday at an event hosted by the German newspaper Handelsblatt in Berlin.

Schroeder said that the threat was America's way of telling Germany that "because you do not obey, we will not tell you." He accused the U.S. government of expecting Germany to side with them for purely economic reasons.

With his comments, Schroeder added his voice to the voices of other German politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who have criticized the threat made by U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.

Merkel said on Tuesday that it "goes without saying" that the German government would define its own security standards in its 5G expansion.