Britain Bans China’s Huawei 5G Network The policy reversal is a long-awaited milestone for US President Donald Trump’s administration in its diplomatic tug-of-war with China.
15th July 2020 The United Kingdom (UK) has forbidden its companies from purchasing 5G equipment from Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications firm.
This move comes despite the threat from Beijing to retaliate against any such action by Britain. UK’s media secretary Oliver Dowden made the announcement after meeting, chaired by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson of his cabinet and the National Security Council. Mr Dowden told British parliament that from the end of this year, telecoms providers must not buy any 5G equipment from Huawei.
The White House said the decision “reflects a growing international consensus that Huawei and other un-trusted vendors pose a threat to national security, as they remain beholden to the Chinese Communist Party”. But the move threatens to further damage Britain’s ties with the Asian power and carry a big cost for UK mobile providers that have relied on Huawei equipment for nearly 20 years.
Huawei called it “politicized” and likely to put Britain “in the digital slow lane”. China’s ambassador in London, Liu Xiaoming, called it a “disappointing and wrong decision”. “It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries,” he wrote on Twitter.
The politically-fraught change in Britain’s digital future was made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a meeting with his cabinet and National Security Council. It requires companies to stop buying new 5G equipment from Huawei starting next year and strip out existing gear by the end of 2027.
Huawei urged the United Kingdom government to reconsider the move, and said that London had reacted to pressure from the United States instead of acting on actual security concerns. ‘I think this is clear this is not about security this is about trade,’ Huawei’s UK Communications Director Ed Brewster told BBC.
Brewster also refuted speculations about China’s influence on the company’s functioning, adding that it was a private technology firm.
“This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy,” digital minister Oliver Dowden told parliament, NDTV reported.
Reports suggest that the United States has been pushing its sally’s nations to impose restrictions/ban on Chinese digital equipment, arguing that the Chinese company poses a threat to the national security.
In May, Donald Trump government had introduced sanctions that disrupted Huawei’s ability to get its chips manufactured. The US claims that the company allows China to surveillance and potentially attack countries that use its equipment.