Britain will rethink the future role of Huawei in its telecoms infrastructure, a leading US politician has said.
US national security adviser John Bolton, who is visiting the UK in a trade capacity, has said British officials had told him that they planned to revisit the issue following the appointment of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
Huawei has long been excluded from US mobile and broadband networks on national security grounds and Washington is urging its allies to follow suit.
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“They were very concerned about not having any compromise in security of telecommunications in the 5G space,” Bolton is quoted as saying by the Financial Times. “What they said was ‘we would like to review this and be very sure about our decision and we too are concerned about the security of our 5G telecommunications network’.”
The Chinese vendor has denied all allegations of wrongdoing and the US has provided no evidence to support its claims. Nonetheless, the US has persisted with its calls for Huawei to banned in the other nations.
The UK has been conducting its own review of Huawei and a conclusion had been expected earlier this year. Leaks suggested Huawei would be banned from core network infrastructure but not the radio element of 5G networks – effectively maintaining the status quo.
All four major UK networks are Huawei customers and there is no desire for any ban as they believe such action would reduce innovation and increase prices.
However when a wider review of the UK telecom sector’s supply chain was finally published last month, a final decision was omitted.
Since then, Boris Johnson has replaced Theresa May as Prime Minister and is understood to be more favourable to many of US President Donald Trump’s views and policies.
The role of Huawei in the UK could impact trade discussions between the US and UK after Brexit and also intelligence sharing. A number of US officials have said that the latter could be limited if Huawei equipment was continued to be used in the UK.
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