Britain will allow Chinese telecom giant Huawei to build out non-core segments of the country's 5G telecommunication network, a move that will undoubtedly spark security concerns with Washington, reported Reuters.
The decision will allow Huawei to take part in the country's 5G infrastructure expansion project at only non-sensitive geographic locations. The government has also introduced a 35% cap of their involvement in non-sensitive parts.
It will likely also draw sharp criticism from U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo and or President Trump this week, who've already publicly stressed that the U.K. must ditch Huawei equipment from its 5G network.
The U.K. is walking a tight balancing act in attempting to appease the Chinese and the U.S., but as one veteran observer noted, "you can't be half pregnant" and the UK's acquiescence to even 'some' appeasement to Huawei will definitely be viewed as a snub by Washington, which has previously thrown down the gauntlet over Huawei.
The U.K. government is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to ban Huawei 5G equipment from the country's telecommunication networks, reported BBC News.
Digital Minister Matt Warman said Monday that "security and resilience" of Britain's "telecom networks are of paramount importance" in tomorrow's decision.
"We welcome open trade and inward investment, however, our economy can only prosper and unleash Britain's potential when we and our international partners are assured that our critical national infrastructure remains safe and secure," Warman said.
We noted earlier this month how the Trump administration was pressuring U.K. officials to outlaw Huawei 5G equipment. Related: General Motors To Spend $2.2 Billion On Detroit Electric Vehicle Plant
There's speculation Monday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson could allow "core" Huawei parts in the backbone of networks.
Johnson told reporters that he needed a communication network that benefits the economy without jeopardizing national security.
"We are going to come up with a solution that enables us to achieve both those objectives, and that is the way forward," he said.
In all of the reporting of the Huawei story a couple of things are often ignored. There’s not one single UK 5G network but 4, and three of them are already rolling out with Huawei - here right at the heart of the city of London pic.twitter.com/sC4dDJ39LU— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147) January 27, 2020
Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told BBC on Monday that he "wondered whether it was wise" for the U.K. to become entirely reliant on China for communication equipment.
"I would say if the decision goes the other way this week, as some of the signs seem to indicate it might, I hope there will also be some reflection in the U.S. because we have never needed the Western alliance to be stronger than now," Hunt said.
If Huawei 5G equipment is banned from U.K. communication networks on Tuesday, it would mean that E.E., Three, and Vodafone, would have to replace Chinese equipment already installed in the country's networks.
Tuesday's Huawei decision will be important for Johnson. He will either side with the Trump administration and ban the Chinese telecom from communication networks. If he allows Huawei equipment to expand in the network, then it would likely draw intense anger from Washington.
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