LONDON—The UK is expected to decide whether it will ban Huawei equipment from its 5G networks on Tuesday.
Huawei’s links to the Chinese Communist Party are well documented, and intelligence agencies are worried that Huawei could open a back door to Chinese espionage.
Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he’ll find a way to balance technology and security.
There are speculations that the UK may allow Huawei access to the periphery of the network only—in contrast to the United States and Australia, which have completely banned the telecoms giant from its 5G networks.
Several members of Johnson’s government have raised concerns about Huawei.
Conservative politician Tom Tugendhat, who was formerly the chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said in the Commons on Monday: “I hope the minister will see the concern that this House has towards Huawei, and the idea that we should be nesting that dragon, the idea we should be letting the fox into the hen house, when really we should be guarding the wire.”
Human Rights Violations
Some UK intelligence experts say they can manage the security risks. But concerns over Huawei are not just limited to national security.
“Huawei is complicit with the human rights violations taking place in China,” said Benedict Rogers, Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission.
Last November, an Australian think tank revealed that Huawei provides technology to Chinese authorities that are abetting the persecution of Uighur muslims.
“We should be thinking as a country not only of financial and economic costs but of the cost both to our relationship with our allies, our reputations in the world, and indeed our own freedoms and values,” said Rogers.
The U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday that the United States is “in active discussions with the UK government and others about Huawei.”
“Huawei—it’s a complicated issue. What parts of their networks it goes into. I don’t want to go through the details, but there are ongoing discussions on that,” he said.
The United States have been in talks with the UK and its allies to completely ban the technology giant from their mobile networks, saying it could otherwise compromise their intelligence sharing relationship.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it’s a “momentous decision” for the UK, writing on Twitter: “The UK has a momentous decision ahead on 5G. British MP Tom Tugendhat gets it right: ‘The truth is that only nations able to protect their data will be sovereign.’”
Pompeo is due to meet with Johnson during a visit to London this week, after the UK is expected to have announced its decision on Huawei.