Sunday 1 November 2020

Huawei, found colluding with Beijing, may be ousted from UK sooner than planned

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The British parliament’s defence committee said today that it had found clear evidence that telecommunication (telecom) giant Huawei had colluded with the Chinese state. He said Britain might need to remove all Huawei equipment as soon as possible.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had, in July, ordered Huawei equipment to be purged from the nascent 5G network by the end of 2027. But now the purge may happen earlier.

US President Donald Trump had claimed credit for the British decision.

“The West must urgently unite to advance a counterweight to China’s tech dominance,” Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence committee, said. “We must not surrender our national security for the sake of short-term technological development.”

The committee did not get into the details of the exact nature of the ties but said it had seen clear evidence of Huawei collusion with “the Chinese Communist Party apparatus”.

Huawei said the report lacked credibility. “It is built on opinion rather than fact. We’re sure people will see through these groundless accusations of collusion and remember instead what Huawei has delivered for Britain over the past 20 years,” a spokesman of the Chinese firm said.

Trump identifies China as the United States’ main geopolitical rival. The US president accused the Communist Party-ruled country of taking advantage in trade and lying about the coronavirus outbreak last year, which he refers to as the “China plague”.

Washington DC and its allies say Huawei technology could be used to spy for China. Huawei has repeatedly denied this. The Chinese company says the United States is simply ‘jealous’ of its success.

British ministers say the rise to global dominance of Huawei, founded in 1987 by a former People’s Liberation Army engineer, has caught the West off-guard.

The defence committee said it supported Johnson’s decision to eventually purge Huawei from 5G but noted that “developments could necessitate this date being moved forward, potentially to 2025 which could be considered economically feasible.”

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