US puts more pressure on UK Government to keep Chinese firm Huawei OUT of 5G phone network as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says Britain is listening to its allies
- Senior US officials will come to London tomorrow for talks about Chinese firm
- Washington concerned about spying risk from Huawei involvement in 5G rollout
- UK security chiefs last month given the green light to Huawei’s involvement
The United States is to put more pressure on Britain to keep Chinese tech and mobile phone giant Huawei out of Britain’s new 5G communications network, it was revealed today.
Senior officials from Donald Trump’s administration will come to London tomorrow for talks about its security fears if the company – which has links to the autocratic Communist regime in Beijing – is involved.
The meeting with figures from the US National Economic Council and National Security Agency come after UK security chiefs last month given the green light to Huawei’s involvement, despite espionage fears.
This is despite Mr Trump and other senior US figures repeatedly warning that such a move could jeopardise transatlantic intelligence sharing.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said today that the Government was listening to American concerns.
‘They have repeatedly said that. They have been clear about that: President Trump, the national security adviser,’ he told the Sunday Times.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said today that the Government was listening to American concerns about Huawei
Donald Trump has warned that Huawei are a security risk and their 5G involvement could jeopardise intelligence-sharing
‘The defense secretary said it personally to me directly when we met at Nato. It’s not a secret. They have been consistent.
‘Those things will be taken into account when the government collectively decides to make a decision on it.’
He added: ‘Friends and enemies that are independent make you choose.’
Preliminary discussions among UK security chiefs last month recommended excluding Huawei from ‘core’ aspects of the British network.
But it is believed that security service bosses have given their blessing to a plan to allow the firm to supply ‘non core’ elements such as antennae for high-speed mobile internet.
Mr Wallace’s deputy, Security Minister Brandon Lewis, refused to discuss the issue this morning.
Appearing on the Andrew Marr programme on the BBC he said: ‘As this is a decision the government’s going to make relatively soon I’m afraid I’m not going to give you a running commentary or a personal view or anything else on where we are with this.
‘We do take serious consideration on all of the issues around these kind of decisions.’
Mr Wallace used his interview to hit out at Facebook over its encryption technology.
He told the Sunday Times: ‘That will add to the ability of everyone from paedophiles to terrorists to spread their evil and increase their capabilities.
‘That keeps me awake at night. That’s massive.’
He also warned that Britain must be prepared to fight future wars without the United States as its principal ally.
He said the increasing withdrawal of America from international leadership under Donald Trump meant Britain needed to re-think the assumptions underpinning its defence planning for the past decade.
His warning came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to lead what is being billed as the ‘deepest review’ of Britain’s security, defence and foreign policy since the Cold War.
Mr Wallace said the prospect of the US stepping back from its international role ‘keeps me awake at night’.
‘I worry if the United States withdraws from its leadership around the world. That would be bad for the world and bad for us. We plan for the worst and hope for the best,’ he said.
Mr Wallace said Britain should use the defence review to acquire new capabilities, making it less dependent on the US in future conflicts.
‘Over the last year we’ve had the US pull out from Syria, the statement by Donald Trump on Iraq where he said Nato should take over and do more in the Middle East,’ he said.
‘The assumptions of 2010 that we were always going to be part of a US coalition is really just not where we are going to be.
‘We are very dependent on American air cover and American intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. We need to diversify our assets.’
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