Yesterday, via an unusual letter, twenty Republican and Democratic US senators urged members of the House of Commons to reconsider the UK government’s decision to allow China’s Huawei to be a supplier for the country’s 5G mobile network.
Pressure from Washington
Washington continues to convince its allies, that have not already banned Huawei, to do so. It warns that its equipment could be used by China for spying – something Huawei repeatedly denies.
The letter is the latest in the US’s attempts to get the UK to ban Huawei from its 5G network completely – currently Britain has imposed a 35% cap on the role of “high-risk vendors”, namely Huawei, and banned the Chinese technology giant from supplying kit to the core.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government’s decision in January to allow Huawei a role in its 5G network has put pressure on the UK’s traditionally close relationship with the US.
Trade deal timing
Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab said, last month, that the UK was ‘reasonably confident’ a trade deal with the US will be among the first to made after leaving the European Union. However, his deal is yet to complete and Britain hopes will be one of the biggest bonuses from its departure from the European Union, so this letter’s timing is important.
“Given the significant security, privacy, and economic threats posed by Huawei, we strongly urge the United Kingdom to revisit its recent decision, take steps to mitigate the risks of Huawei, and work in close partnership with the U.S. on such efforts going forward,” the senators said in the letter to members of the House of Commons.
The letter was signed by twenty of the 100 member Senate with those signing including Chuck Schumer, the chamber’s Democratic leader, Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Mark Warner, Democratic vice chairman.
To our friends & allies in the UK:Chinese companies are compelled to support & cooperate with the Chinese Communist PartyWith security, privacy, & economic threats Huawei poses—we urge the UK to revisit its decision to allow Huawei to supply some of the UK’s 5G infrastructure pic.twitter.com/9BLG0mJ3oJMarch 4, 2020
This letter follows another sent in January from a bipartisan group of 42 members of the US House of Representatives.