After rolling back a decision to allow Huawei-made components to be used in non-critical parts of the UK's 5G infrastrucutre, the UK government has just announced a landmark decision to block Huawei parts from being used throughout its 5G infrastructure in a major win for the Trump Administration as it bids to exclude Huawei from lucrative western markets, due to national security concerns.
Starting Dec. 31, Huawei will be barred from providing new equipment to British networks. Additionally, Johnson’s National Security Council agreed Tuesday that all existing Huawei equipment must also be stripped from 5G networks by 2027. That's a slower timeline than some national security-conscious Tories had demanded. The NSC reportedly concluded, according to the FT, that the latest round of sanctions out of Washington demonstrated that Huawei's products truly cannot be trusted to be used in the UK's telecoms infrastructure due to the extreme risk they will be compromised by Beijing. Since the US rules will stop Huawei from using US-made chips, the UK concluded that this would heighten the risk of spying as Huawei will now need to use more chips made in China.
Additionally, the UK’s full-fiber broadband operators will be given two years to “transition” away from the purchase of Huawei equipment, while BoJo urges them not to purchase any new Huawei kit.
Oliver Dowden, the UK's secretary of state for media, digital cultural, media and sport, said the decision is intended to build a more "mature" economic relationship with China.
- DOWDEN: U.K. WANTS `MODERN, MATURE RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINA'
- DOWDEN: U.K. GOVERNMENT IS `CLEAR-EYED' ON CHINA
- DOWDEN: HUAWEI DECISION IS ABOUT LONG-TERM TELECOMS SECURITY
- DOWDEN: WORKING WITH FIVE EYES SECURITY PARTNERS ON TELECOMS
Lord John Brown, a former head of BP between 1995 and 2007 (leaving crucially before the 2010 oil spill), has been head of Huawei's UK board since September, when he became the first independent director in the UK.
As Bloomberg concludes rather ominously, the decision to strip out Huawei’s kit from British networks represents a major reversal by Johnson, and threatens to fuel a growing row between the U.K. and China at a highly sensitive time. China has warned Johnson will face “consequences” if the U.K. treats it as a “hostile partner."
Offering a hint at just how angry Beijing will be with this decision, a top CCP mouthpiece warned a few hours ago that an open, fair and non-discriminatory environment will be a major "litmus test" for Chinese investment in the British economy post-Brexit, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
In a statement released by a Huawei spokesperson, the company said the decision would hurt every Briton with a mobile phone, and risked relegating Britain to the "digital slow lane" for years to come.
Six months ago, Johnson infuriated Trump by authorizing Huawei to supply parts to 35% of the UK's 5G infrastructure
This is BoJo's second snub to Beijing in just a few weeks: 2 weeks ago, the PM offered a path to British citizenship for up to 3 million Hong Kongers (though HMG expects only about 200,000 to come).