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‘Major defeat for the US’: Backlash at home & abroad for BoJo’s govt after allowing Huawei a role in 5G network rollout

‘Major defeat for the US’: Backlash at home & abroad for BoJo’s govt after allowing Huawei a role in 5G network rollout
The UK government’s decision to allow Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to continue working on Britain’s 5G networks – with ‘restricted’ access – has provoked anger from high profile figures in both the UK and the US.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the UK government said Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre has recommended that they limit access to “high-risk vendors,” such as Huawei, who will continue the 5G rollout across the country.

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab issued a statement in the UK Parliament fending off criticism, and claiming that the government was “establishing one of the strongest regimes for telecoms security anywhere in the world.”

The UK has been under increasing pressure from Washington to block Huawei, including the latter warning that allowing the Chinese company to play a role could threaten US-UK intelligence sharing. The apparent defiance in the face of Washington’s wishes has triggered anger from Conservative Party loyalists, UK opposition parties, and US politicians.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith insisted that allowing Huawei to help build 5G is a “mistake,” because “we are in a cyber war with China.” The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green added that it “beggars belief” that the UK government would allow the Chinese firm to the country’s network.

Former UK PM Theresa May’s joint chief of staff, Nick Timothy, warned on Twitter that the UK could end up regretting this decision and that “our freedom of action vis-a-vis China, even at home, is diminishing by the day.”

Along with a number of disgruntled Tories, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was another notable critic of the contentious decision. Farage accused PM Boris Johnson’s administration of compromising UK security and insulting our “closest friends” (the US), adding that the move shows that “our establishment have been paid off by China.”

Labour’s shadow culture secretary, Tracy Brabin, issued a statement in the House of Commons claiming that with this decision, the Tories had “refused to take our technological sovereignty seriously.”

The AFP reports that a senior Trump administration official responded to the move by saying the US was “disappointed,” insisting that “there is no safe option for untrusted vendors” like Huawei to control any part of a 5G network.

Meanwhile, former Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich claimed the British decision was a “major defeat for the United States.”

Last May, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively banning Huawei for allegedly posing a threat to national security. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in the UK on Wednesday, with the issue of Huawei sure to be high on the list of topics to be discussed.

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