U.S. ramps up pressure on United Kingdom ahead of Huawei decision

Andrew Cummings
January 11, 2020

It was revealed that Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State would personally try and convince Dominic Raab, British Foreign Secretary regarding Huawei at a meeting arranged in Washington.

Britain is set to decide on how it will use the equipment from Huawei in the 5G network and is still evaluating USA warnings that the equipment could be used for spying by Beijing, constituting a national security risk for the UK.

Last month, the United States also passed legislation that included a provision bolstering threats to restrict intelligence-sharing with allies that use Huawei equipment.

A United Kingdom government spokesman said: "The security and resilience of the UK's telecoms networks is of paramount importance". The UK is expected to make a decision within a few weeks. Huawei denies the allegations. A final decision has yet to be made public. Unfortunately, the trip had to be postponed due to poor weather conditions.

Cotton, a vocal critic of Huawei, proposed a little-noticed provision in a defense bill signed into law last month that directs intelligence agencies to consider the use of telecoms and cybersecurity infrastructure "provided by adversaries of the United States, particularly China and Russian Federation", when entering intelligence-sharing agreements with foreign countries. "What's unclear is how, when or indeed if it will actually be fired". Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson is eager not to upset US President Donald Trump, but reports suggested that after month's of deliberation, Johnson has come to the same conclusion as May.

During 2018, the US warned its allies not to use Huawei networking gear for their 5G networks. Both countries, along with Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, are part of the "Five Eyes" alliance.

The comments made in December were his strongest signal so far that he is prepared to potentially shut Huawei out of the network. Nonetheless, Washington has exerted considerable pressure on its allies to follow its lead and ban the use of Huawei equipment in telecoms infrastructure.

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