UK Taking US Advice on Huawei ‘Very Seriously,’ UK Official Says

By Holly Kellum

WASHINGTON—As President Donald Trump visits the UK, a prominent UK official has indicated that the kingdom may heed the United States’s call for allies to distance themselves from Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

“We are taking it very seriously,” Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s foreign secretary told CNBC. “We have some of the best cybersecurity capability in the world and we’d never take a decision that affected our intelligence sharing capability with the United States.”

The United States has warned its allies that it may not be able to share sensitive data with countries that use Huawei’s technology. It is worried that China may have access to the information transmitted through its systems.

“Their government is involved in their businesses in ways that America, American companies never, never will be and shouldn’t be. We’re simply trying to level this playing field,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to the Netherlands June 3. “We’ve been clear. Our ask is that our allies and our partners and our friends don’t do anything that would endanger our shared security interests or restrict our ability to share sensitive information.”

Jeremy Hunt talks allowing Huawei to help set up the UK's 5G Network

Despite warnings from the US, Jeremy Hunt sticks with Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach, saying that discussions about allowing Chinese telecom company Huawei to help build the country’s 5G network are “very important discussions that we continue to have.”

اس پر ‏‎Face The Nation‎‏ نے شائع کیا اتوار، 2 جون، 2019

The Trump administration has sanctioned Huawei and tried to block it from buying U.S. goods.

In his foreign visits, Pompeo pressured its allies ban Huawei’s products. So far, Australia and New Zealand are the only countries that have agreed. The UK is still deciding on its course of action. “We have to look at the technical issues which are around whether buying products from a specific country could be a backdoor to espionage, we’re looking at those very carefully,” he said.

The UK’s defense minister, Gavin Williamson, was fired last month after he was accused of leaking discussions about Huawei from a UK National Security Council meeting.

According to the Telegraph, which published the leak, the council agreed to allow Huawei to develop “noncore” infrastructure in the country.

Hunt, according to the paper, was one of the council members who raised concerns about that decision.

The council is headed by Prime Minister Theresa May, who is stepping down on June 7.

President Trump is set to have a wide-ranging discussion with May on June 4, which senior administration officials expect will include Huawei.

Given that May is stepping down shortly thereafter, however, it’s unlikely there will be any breakthroughs on Huawei.