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Canada is banning the use of 5G equipment from Chinese companies Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp to protect national security, joining the rest of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network.

"We intend to exclude Huawei and ZTE from our 5G networks," Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told reporters in Ottawa. "Providers who already have this equipment installed will be required to cease its use and remove it under the plans we're announcing today."

Champagne added that companies will have to remove their 5G equipment by June 2024.

The rest of the Five Eyes network, which includes Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, has already banned the equipment.

Canada first announced in September 2018 that it would consider possible threats to national security when introducing Huawei equipment, Reuters reported.

Then in December of the same year, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on a U.S. warrant, creating a long-running dispute with China that finally ended last September with Meng's release.

After Meng's arrest, two Canadians were arrested by Beijing and charged with espionage. They were released the same day as Meng.

Diplomatic tensions between China and Canada have now eased somewhat. On Wednesday, China lifted a three-year restriction on imports of Canadian canola seeds.

Thursday's decision came after telecommunications companies in Canada had already decided to use other companies' 5G equipment.

A spokesperson for China's embassy in Canada said the alleged security concerns were a "pretext for political manipulation" and accused Canada of working with the United States to suppress Chinese companies.

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