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Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei. Screenshot by Axios

Huawei chief Ren Zhengfei said Tuesday that his company is prepared for any further U.S. "attacks," but he believes the world can avoid splitting into two separate technology systems.

Why it matters: The U.S. and China are locked in a fierce battle, with trade restrictions already limiting Huawei's ability to sell phones around the world.

  • "We are more confident we can survive even further attacks," Ren said, appearing at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

The backdrop: Last year, the U.S. imposed a variety of restrictions that further limited Huawei's ability to do business in the U.S. as well as hampering its ability globally by limiting access to U.S. chips and software. It is also pressuring allies not to use Huawei's networking technology for their 5G systems.

  • Ren expressed optimism the tensions won't lead to a complete bifurcation of Western and Chinese technology. "Whether world will be split in two systems, I don’t think so," he said. "Science is about truth; there is only one truth. It is unique."

Meanwhile: Israeli philosopher Yuval Noah Harari, who joined the Huawei chief on stage, talked about the existential threat posed when any tech company, be it Huawei or Facebook, can know human desires better than people themselves.

  • Ren replied: "We are not sure if that can become reality. We do not rule out this possibility."

The panel included a lot of harkening back to the Cold War and the race to build the atom bomb.

  • The key difference, Harari noted, is that it was largely clear that using the technology behind the atom bomb was bad. With AI, countries may believe they are best served by actively deploying such systems.
  • Harari also pointed out that the U.S.-China tech Cold War is very close to a real arms race — the development of lethal autonomous weapons. And while both sides likely know the danger, the distrust could prompt such systems to be built.

Yes, but: Harari ended on a hopeful note, pointing out that in theory surveillance technology could be used to keep tabs on big business and government, and antivirus software could in future detect efforts to manipulate your mind.

Go deeper: Why Huawei is the United States' 5G boogeyman

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

28 mins ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.