Displaying items by tag: Boris Johnson
Britain is set to phase out Huawei equipment from its 5G mobile networks this year, the U.K. press has reported. If so, it marks a major U-turn in the government’s position on the Chinese telecommunications giant.
The government is drawing up plans to strip Huawei gear from Britain’s next-generation networks by the end of the year, The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph newspapers reported.
It comes after London said in January that Huawei could play a limited role in Britain’s 5G networks, a move which angered the U.S. as it sought to get other countries to block the Chinese company.
Washington maintains that Huawei is a national security risk, alleging its equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim.
The apparent policy reversal was driven by a new report from a branch of British intelligence agency GCHQ that raised new security fears over Huawei following U.S. moves to cut off the Chinese firm from key chips.
China's ambassador to Britain has warned that London faced a risk to its international reputation if it blocked Huawei from the nation's 5G network.
The Financial Times said the government will decide this month to phase out the Chinese technology giant's equipment because of persistent concerns about spying.
A UK security investigation, yet to be published, has raised "very, very serious" questions over Huawei's limited 5G role in Britain, the newspaper added.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said separately he had received the National Cyber Security Centre report and there would be a "significant" impact on Huawei's 5G role.
But Beijing's top envoy in London, Liu Xiaoming, described Huawei's involvement as a "win-win" for both the company and UK-China relations.
"We have tried our best to tell the story of Huawei but we can't control the British government decision," he told a news conference.
However he warned that if Huawei was rejected, it could impact Britain's international standing and erode the trust of other existing or potential overseas investors.
He suggested it would be an example of Britain succumbing to "foreign pressure", in a clear reference to Washington's position on Huawei.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under intense pressure from the US, and members of his own ruling Conservative Party, to cut ties with Huawei.
US officials argue that the company could spy on Western communications or simply shut down the UK network under orders from Beijing - a charge the company denies.
Huawei's position has been complicated further by Washington's decision to roll out a new wave of sanctions to cripple the company's production of the chips used in 5G.
The FT said Johnson was drawing up plans to remove the Huawei technology from Britain's 5G network after warnings that the US sanctions could curtail the company's access to American semiconductors and force it to use riskier supplies.
Ambassador Liu rejected claims China was a "hostile country".
"We want to be your friend, we want to be your partner but if you want to make China a hostile country you have to bear the consequences," he added.
The UK has finally approved a limited role for Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in the country's 5G network, but underscored that "high risk vendors" would be excluded from "sensitive" core infrastructure.
The United States wanted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban Huawei completely, arguing that Beijing could use the company’s equipment to spy on western counterparts. Huawei has strongly denied any involvement in espionage.
London's decision, following a meeting of the National Security Council chaired by Boris Johnson, came shortly after Brussels said it would allow Huawei a limited 5G role in the European Union.
"We want world-class connectivity as soon as possible but this must not be at the expense of our national security," Britain's Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said in reference to high-speed fifth generation networks that offer almost instantaneous and reliable data transfer.
"High risk vendors never have been and never will be in our most sensitive networks," she added.
Huawei’s VP welcomed news that it would have at least a limited role in building Britain's high-speed fifth generation networks, after Washington lobbied hard for the company to be sidelined completely on security concerns
"Huawei is reassured by the UK government's confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track," said Huawei Vice-President Victor Zhang.
"This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future."
Unlike the United States, Britain has been using Huawei technology in its systems for the past 15 years. Johnson insisted that the UK can have "technological progress" while preserving national security. Huawei is widely viewed as providing the most advanced alternative for super-fast data transfers behind technologies such as self-driving cars and remotely operated factory robots.
Despite opposition from the United States, Britain is to yet to decide on a potential role for China's Huawei in developing its 5G telecoms network. However, reports say this will be in a limited capacity after heavy US obstruction on security grounds.
"The UK has a momentous decision ahead on 5G," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted as Washington continued to heap pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson up to the last minute in urging a complete sidelining of Huawei.
However a senior UK official last week strongly hinted at a green light for Huawei, while the Financial Times over the weekend reported that Johnson was Tuesday "expected to approve a restricted role".UK ministers are said to be looking to impose a cap on Huawei's market share in the project.
There has meanwhile been widespread speculation that Britain would allow Huawei into "non-core" elements of 5G networks, such as antennae and base stations attached to masts and roofs. The core carries out essential functions such as authenticating subscribers and sending voice and data between devices and is sometimes described as the "brains" or "heart" of a network.
The United States has banned Huawei from the rollout of its next generation 5G mobile networks because of concerns that the firm could be under the control of Beijing. Huawei strongly deny this claim.
Washington has been lobbying Britain to do the same, even threatening to limit intelligence sharing between the two allies should the UK go its own way. Britain has moved to downplay US security fears.
The UK official pointed out that unlike the United States, Britain has been using Huawei technology in its systems for the past 15 years. UK security agencies believe they have managed the risk so far and will be able to do so with the 5G network.
The 5G technology offers almost instantaneous data transfer and is seen as key for technologies such as self-driving cars and remotely operated factory robots.