Hi-Tech

In Snub to US, UK Will Allow China’s Huawei in 5G Networks

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Britain decided Tuesday to let Chinese tech giant Huawei have a limited role supplying new high-speed network equipment to wireless carriers, ignoring the U.S. government’s warnings that it would sever intelligence sharing if the company was not banned.

Britain’s decision is the first by a major U.S. ally in Europe, and follows intense lobbying from the Trump administration as the U.S. vies with China for technological dominance.

It sets up a diplomatic clash with the Americans, who claim that British sovereignty is at risk because the company could give the Chinese government access to data, an allegation Huawei denies.

“We would never take decisions that threaten our national security or the security of our Five Eyes partners,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, referring to a security arrangement in which Britain, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, share intelligence. “We know more about Huawei and the risks that it poses than any other country in the world.”

The decision was awkward for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who risks the fury of one of Britain’s closest allies at just the moment it needs the Trump’s administration to quickly strike a trade deal after Brexit. Britain officially leaves the European Union at the end of the week, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to pay a two-day visit starting Wednesday to meet with Johnson and Raab to reaffirm the tran-Atlantic relationship.

 

Britain decided Tuesday to let Chinese tech giant Huawei have a limited role supplying new high-speed network equipment to wireless carriers, ignoring the U.S. government’s warnings that it would sever intelligence sharing if the company was not banned.

Britain’s decision is the first by a major U.S. ally in Europe, and follows intense lobbying from the Trump administration as the U.S. vies with China for technological dominance.

It sets up a diplomatic clash with the Americans, who claim that British sovereignty is at risk because the company could give the Chinese government access to data, an allegation Huawei denies.

“We would never take decisions that threaten our national security or the security of our Five Eyes partners,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, referring to a security arrangement in which Britain, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, share intelligence. “We know more about Huawei and the risks that it poses than any other country in the world.”

The decision was awkward for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who risks the fury of one of Britain’s closest allies at just the moment it needs the Trump’s administration to quickly strike a trade deal after Brexit. Britain officially leaves the European Union at the end of the week, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to pay a two-day visit starting Wednesday to meet with Johnson and Raab to reaffirm the tran-Atlantic relationship.

“In truth the U.K. had little room to manoeuvre,” said Emily Taylor, CEO of Oxford Information Labs, a cyber intelligence company. The decision “seeks to carve an acceptable middle ground that will keep various contending forces happy,” she said, noting that British wireless carries have already been using Huawei gear for 15 years.

The 5G technology is expected to drive the next wave of innovation, transmitting massive amounts of data from more objects and locations. It would, for example, help make possible self-driving cars or remote surgery.

Huawei is the top global supplier of mobile networks, and it’s considered a cost-effective and high-quality alternative to its main rivals, Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson.

The United States says that China’s communist leaders could, under a 2017 national intelligence law, compel Huawei to carry out cyberespionage. The U.S. has threatened repeatedly to cut off intelligence sharing with allies that use Huawei.

 

PULLED FROM thediplomat.com

January 29, 2020

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