Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has had a rough time lately fighting off sanctions and blacklisting by the US. However, the company might have been thrown a lifeline by the UK’s Prime Minister. Boris Johnson mentioned that his government might be open to the idea of Huawei supplying some of the UK’s 5G telecommunications technology. The statement flies in the face of the American pressure to ban the telecom manufacturer from having access to the UK market, amidst fears of espionage through their electronic infrastructure.
A Long Deliberation
The US and the UK have been political allies for as long as many of us can remember. For the last few months, the UK government has been contemplating how much, if any, of the UK market should be available to Huawei. The US has been adamant about preventing the company’s presence in the West, primarily because it suspects the telecom giant to have ties with the Chinese government. Previous investigations have shown that Huawei may have passed on information that was routed through its infrastructure in the past to Beijing. Using this as the reason, the US urged the British Government to be wary about including Huawei in their 5G plans.
Potentially Prejudicing Security?
Prime Minister Johnson unequivocally stated that he had no intention of putting things in place that could lead to a breach of security within the UK. Some Huawei infrastructure has already been installed around the country, and experts believe a full-out ban would have a severe impact on the PM’s goal of offering 5G to the entire nation by 2027. International commentators are concerned that the decision to allow Huawei entry into the UK market may impact UK-US relations.
However, Andrew Parker, Head of MI5 (Britain’s domestic security service), states that he doesn’t see the decision causing any trouble between the countries. Huawei has been a contentious point with the US, not just for the UK, but for the rest of Europe as well. Washington’s trade war with China has seen the telecom company become a scapegoat, and governments agreeing to work with them has faced harsh criticism from the White House.