PM Boris Johnson responds saying the British public deserves to have access to the best possible technology
Senior US officials have said that using Huawei’s 5G networks in the UK would put transatlantic intelligence-sharing at risk according to The Guardian.
British ministers were told that allowing Chinese firm access to UK networks would be “nothing short of madness”.
US President Donald Trump’s deputy national security advisor Matt Pottinger presented an incendiary dossier that is said to have featured fresh evidence of the security risks that come with Huawei technology in future phone networks.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make a final decision about Huawei shortly and has been advised by the UK security establishment that any security risks can be contained.
This comes after the head of MI5, Andrew Parker told the Financial Times over the weekend that he saw “no reason to think” that using Huawei’s 5G technology would threaten intelligence sharing with the US.
However, one US representative reportedly told Mr. Johnson that using Huawei 5G networks would pose a significant security risk and “would be like putting Russia in charge of anti-doping of world athletes”.
A second member said that Trump did not want to fall out with the UK over the security issues but added that the US President is “watching closely”.
A delegation of six US officials including Pottinger claimed that Chinese spies, working for the People’s Liberation Army also worked for Huawei.
They claimed that Congress had introduced legislation that required the administration to re-examine any intelligence-sharing relationships with countries that had adopted technology from untested vendors.
Huawei has repeatedly denied claims that they had cooperated with the Chinese government to introduce “back doors” to its technology and has offered to sign a “no spy agreement” with countries adopting their technology. However, the US continues to insist there is a security risk.
On Monday a Huawei spokesman said it was a private company “which has supplied 3G, 4G, and broadband equipment to the UK’s telecoms companies for 15 years”.
“We are confident the government will take a decision based on evidence — not unsubstantiated allegations.”
In an interview with the BBC this morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded to US warnings. He said: “The British public deserves to have access to the best possible technology.
“We want to put in gigabit broadband for everybody. Now if people oppose one brand or another then they have to tell us what’s the alternative.
“On the other hand, let’s be clear, I don’t want, as the UK prime minister, to put in any infrastructure that is going to prejudice our national security or our ability to cooperate with Five Eyes intelligence partners [Canada, US, New Zealand, and Australia].”
Huawei vice president Victor Zhang said: “We strongly agree with the Prime Minister that ‘the British public deserve to have access to the best possible technology’.
“That is why we invested more than $15 billion last year in research and development to ensure our customers receive just that. Huawei has worked with the UK’s telecoms companies for 15 years and looks forward to supplying the best technologies that help companies like BT and Vodafone fulfil the government’s commitment to make gigabit broadband available to all.
“We are confident that the UK Government will make a decision based upon evidence, as opposed to unsubstantiated allegations.
“Two UK parliamentary committees concluded there is no technical reason to ban us from supplying 5G equipment and this week the Head of MI5 said, there is ‘no reason to think’ the UK’s intelligence-sharing relationship with the US would be harmed if Britain continued to use Huawei technology.”