US believes telecoms equipment supplied by Huawei could be used to run espionage operations against western countries
The US is ratcheting up the pressure on the British government to ban Chinese telecoms hardware maker Huawei from participating in UK 5G infrastructure projects.
The UK is expected to make a final decision about whether to allow Huawei equipment in core 5G telecoms networks later this month.
According to Reuters, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in Washington DC today where he will reiterate the US government’s belief that Huawei is a threat to national security.
Pompeo could also warn that allowing Huawei equipment to be run at the heart of UK networks could affect intelligence sharing arrangements.
Both the US and UK, along with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, are part of the ‘Five Eyes’ signals intelligence alliance.
Senator Tom Cotton introduced a bill that would prevent US intelligence agencies from sharing intelligence with countries that allow Huawei equipment on their 5G networks
According to Reuters, the White House administration had also planned to send a separate delegation, headed by deputy national security advisor Matt Pottinger, to meet British officials this week, but the meeting was cancelled due to bad weather.
On Wednesday, US Senator Tom Cotton introduced a bill that would prevent US intelligence agencies from sharing intelligence with countries that allow Huawei equipment on their 5G networks.
Cotton had also proposed a provision in a defence bill, signed by President Trump last month, that would have directed US agencies to consider the cyber security infrastructure provided by US adversaries when entering intelligence-sharing agreements with other countries.
Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, following a meeting with President Donald Trump, hinted that the UK may restrict Huawei’s involvement in building 5G infrastructure in the country.
Johnson said that the main criteria in the government’s final decision on Huawei would be whether it would affect co-operation with other members of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance.
Johnson’s statement came despite the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s conclusion in July that there was no technical reason for an outright 5G ban for Huawei.
Over the past year, the US government has urged allies not to purchase Huawei-made 5G equipment, claiming it could be used by China’s government for espionage. It claims that Huawei is ultimately controlled, and subject
In May, the US Commerce Department put Huawei in its “Entity List,” barring the company from doing any business with US companies without getting a special licence from the US government.
Following the ban, Google announced that it was withdrawing Huawei’s Android operating system licence. Many other US tech companies followed Google by stopping their component supply to Huawei.
The US government later relaxed the ban by granting Huawei a new 90-day licence to operate in the US.
Most recently, the licence was extended for another 90 days in November.
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