Britain needs to take a “look” and reconsider its decision to allow the Chinese company Huawei to join the UK’s 5G network.
The comments, made on the sidelines of the Munich security conference on Friday, represent the most direct public warning from Washington to the United Kingdom that it should rethink and must recognize the high risk of exposure of the British network to the Chinese state.
U.S. officials have stepped up their campaign against Huawei, arguing that it can covertly access mobile networks across the world through “backdoors” designed to be used by law enforcement agencies. The company is accused of stealing trade secrets and of lying to US federal investigators in a new charge released Thursday.
U.S. officials have claimed that their intelligence has shown that Huawei has had a secret capability for over a decade. Washington claims to have passed highly classified intelligence in the UK and Germany.
There was news of a heavily charged phone call between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump in the wake of the UK decision. Johnson postponed a scheduled visit to the United States until the summer, citing the pressure of domestic work, but also reflecting the tensions between the two allies.
During a briefing in Monaco, Robert Blair, special representative of the White House for international telecommunications policy, said that Britain had to take a “look” at its decision to use the equipment produced by Huawei, which according to officials of Washington is a security risk. the company denies.
Blair said Washington was looking to develop a partnership with the telecommunications industry to provide alternatives to Huawei’s technology.
He said that a partnership is “very different from buying shares with taxpayers’ money.” Blair stressed that the UK’s decision, although not reversed, would not end intelligence cooperation between its close allies, but added that it could require the United States to rethink how it shares data.
Great Britain and, to a lesser extent, Germany have said that it is possible to keep Huawei away from the central network and not allow the company more than 35% access.
But U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said: “We have evidence that Huawei has the ability to secretly access sensitive and personal information in the systems it manages and sells worldwide.”
Another senior American official said: “Huawei does not reveal this hidden access to its local customers or the host nation’s national security agencies.”
The UK has repeatedly argued that any Huawei security risk can be contained, with its decision to allow the Chinese company a role in 5G technology in line with the recommendations of its intelligence agency GCHQ.
British politicians and officials have also tried to minimize differences with the United States on the matter, arguing that they want to work with the United States in developing alternatives. But many conservative party backbenchers remain concerned about the intensity of U.S. lobbying and are trying to push Johnson to agree that Huawei will be eliminated from British networks in the next two or three years in an attempt to reach a compromise that the Trump administration would accept. .
The U.S. sought to strengthen its intelligence information by accusing Huawei of racketeering, conspiracy and conspiracy to steal trade secrets in the new federal charge.
Huawei also helped the Iranian government by installing surveillance equipment to monitor, identify and detain protesters during the 2009 anti-government demonstrations in Tehran, the prosecution said.
The speaker of the Democratic Chamber, Nancy Pelosi, has thrown the weight of her party behind the warnings of the White House, saying that allowing Huawei to join European networks would be “choosing autocracy over democracy”.
He also accused China of threatening economic retaliation against those who do not accept its technology, stating that Europe should not adopt Chinese technology based on short-term economic reasons. His remarks underlined the American bipartisan opposition to Huawei.
The United States’ moves came when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Munich, in part to discuss the German decision to allow Huawei limited access to its 5G network.
Huawei dismissed the new accusation as part of the US justice department’s attempt to “irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and business for competition rather than law enforcement reasons.” He added: “The” racket venture “that the government has accused today is nothing more than a forced repackaging of a handful of civil charges that are nearly 20 years old.”
The future role of China and the gradual withdrawal of the United States from the world stage will be a central theme of the Munich conference.
There are many world leaders at the conference, but no British government minister should attend. A number of diplomatic and security officials from the United Kingdom will be present.