US, UK officials meet as PM Johnson's Huawei decision nears

Clay Curtis
January 14, 2020

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) has introduced a bill that seeks to prohibit USA intelligence agencies from sharing information with countries that use Huawei's 5G networking equipment, citing national security risks.

According to the Financial Times, U.S. officials told British ministers that having Huawei at the helm would "be like putting Russian Federation in charge of anti-doping of world athletes".

The officials are claimed to have intimated that members of Congress would want to review the long-established US-UK intelligence-sharing relationship in future legislation, depending on the British government's final move on the matter.

"Donald Trump is watching closely". "If people oppose one brand or another then they have to tell us what is the alternative, right?"

Boris Johnson responded this morning by saying he would not risk Britain's security when upgrading the nation's 5G communications network.

Even the fact that the United Kingdom cabinet had voted last spring to allow Huawei to supply non-core technology such as mobile phone masts and antennas in future 5G networks, this would not suffice to allay Washington's concerns, the USA officials are said to have indicated.

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The U.S. government shares intelligence information and tools with other countries within the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes spy alliances, as well as through other means. "'We're confident the government will take a decision based on evidence - not unsubstantiated allegations, '" added the spokesperson.

A final decision on what role, if any, the Chinese company's equipment could play in the UK's 5G infrastructure has been delayed a number of times by the British government amid political turmoil connected to Brexit, but is expected soon.

The PM will be given two options - block Huawei entirely, or allow it access to "non-core kit" only such as antennae.

All of Britain's 5G networks have now been launched, albeit without the Chinese firm's 5G equipment at their core.

The US has upped the rhetorical ante on its largely unfounded claims that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will severely compromise a country's cyber security if it is allowed to work on any of the world's burgeoning national 5G networks.

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