Britain in Huawei Dilemma as China Relations Sour 

There is growing speculation that Britain may be about to reverse course and ban Chinese firm Huawei from Britain’s rollout of 5G mobile telecoms technology.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved Huawei’s involvement in the construction of non-core elements of Britain’s 5G mobile network in January. The United States strongly criticized that decision, warning that the company is closely linked to the Chinese government and poses a big security risk. It appears Johnson may be about to heed that warning. “I am very, very determined to get broadband into every part of this country, reaching out for across the whole of the U.K. And we’re convinced that we can do that,” Johnson told reporters Monday. “I am also determined that the U.K. should not be in any way be vulnerable to high-risk state vendors. So, we’ll have to think carefully about how we handle that. We’ll have to come up with the right technological solutions.” So, what has changed?In May, the United States imposed sanctions preventing U.S. companies from supplying Huawei with crucial microchips used in 5G technology. Britain’s National Cyber Security Center, part of the intelligence services, has since warned that the U.S. move makes Huawei technology less secure and reliable. Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
FILE – Pedestrians use their mobile phones near a Huawei advertisement at a bus stop in central London, April 29, 2019.The Huawei decision comes at a crucial time for Britain. Johnson is trying to build what he calls a new “global Britain” following the country’s official exit from the European Union in January and is eyeing new trade deals with the United States and China. London finds itself torn between those two rival powers.  In 2015, then-Prime Minister David Cameron hailed a new “golden era” in Sino-British relations as he welcomed President Xi Jinping to London with a full state visit and banquet at Buckingham Palace.  Just five years on, tensions are rising fast over Huawei, China’s imposition of a new security law on Hong Kong, and Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Ziaoming, gave a stark warning in an internet broadcast Monday. “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,” Liu said. A final decision on Huawei is expected before the British Parliament breaks for its summer recess July 22.

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