US government representations have once again urged the UK not to work with Huawei on the nation’s 5G network.
On Monday, a US delegation led by US Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger presented the UK with new evidence of the security risks posed by Chinese technology firm Huawei.
The technical dossier shared by US officials contained what they claimed to be new and categorical evidence of the dangers. The delegation told British ministers that allowing the Chinese technology giant to build on UK soil would be “nothing short of madness”.
The US has been vocal about its concerns for many months, placing significant pressure on its political allies to shun Huawei. Last week, a US lawmaker proposed a bill that would prevent intelligence sharing with countries playing host to Huawei 5G infrastructure.
In July, a study purported to uncover deep links between Huawei personnel and China’s military and intelligence bodies. Conducted by an associate professor at Fulbright University Vietnam and London-based think tank Henry Jackson Society, the analysis found that some Huawei staff can be linked “to specific instances of hacking or industrial espionage conducted against Western firms”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains determined to evaluate all available options. “The British public deserve to have access to the best possible technology,” he told BBC TV on Tuesday. “If people oppose one brand or another then they have to tell us what is the alternative, right?”
Huawei has consistently denied allegations that the Chinese government would use its infrastructure to surveil foreign powers. The UK is set to make a final decision on whether to allow Huawei to build its 5G infrastructure by the end of the month.
In a statement, Huawei vice president Victor Zhang said that the company would “strongly agree” with the Prime Minister.
“That is why we invested more than $15 billion last year in research and development to ensure our customers receive just that,” he added. “Huawei has worked with the UK’s telecoms companies for 15 years and looks forward to supplying the best technologies that help companies like BT and Vodafone fulfil the government’s commitment to make gigabit broadband available to all.
“We are confident that the UK Government will make a decision based upon evidence, as opposed to unsubstantiated allegations. Two UK parliamentary committees concluded there is no technical reason to ban us from supplying 5G equipment and this week the Head of MI5 said, there is ‘no reason to think’ the UK’s intelligence-sharing relationship with the US would be harmed if Britain continued to use Huawei technology.”
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