Spokesperson Wang Wenbin listens to a question during a press conference at the Chinese Foreign Ministry

China on Friday condemned Canada's "baseless" decision to ban Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE from installing 5G networks over national security concerns.

"China is firmly opposed to this," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters, adding that Beijing would take "all necessary measures" to protect Chinese companies.

"This decision goes against the principles of the market economy and the rules of free trade," he added.

Relations between the two countries soured in 2018 with the arrest in Canada, at the request of the United States, of Meng Wangzhou, the financial director of Huawei.

In a context of rivalry, Washington, for its part, has increased pressure against Chinese technological jewels in recent years.

Washington regularly accuses Huawei of posing a danger to national security due to its possible links with Chinese intelligence services, something the company denies.

The United States is urging its allies to remove ZTE and especially Huawei from its 5G networks, arguing that Beijing could use these companies to monitor a country's communications and data traffic.

Canada announced on Thursday that it will ban the installation of 5G networks by Huawei and ZTE due to national security concerns.

The long-awaited move follows a similar decision by the United States and other key allies including Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan.

The United States has warned of the security implications of giving the Chinese tech giant access to key telecommunications infrastructure that could be used for espionage.

After years of hesitation, Canada decided on Thursday to ban the two groups from installing 5G networks. "We announce our intention to ban Huawei and ZTE products and services from Canada's telecommunications systems," Industry Canada Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said.

"This follows a thorough review by our security agencies and in consultation with our closest allies," Champagne told a news conference.

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