BORIS Johnson faces triggering a major spat with Donald Trump as Whitehall insiders have hinted he is on the verge of granting Chinese firm Huawei a role in building the UKs 5G network.
US government officials will make an 11th hour plea to stop the move at a meeting with their British counterparts in London today.
Whitehall insiders have hinted he’s on the verge of granting Chinese firm Huawei a role in building Britain’s 5G network
The PM risks a major spat with Donald Trump if he gives Huawei the go-ahead
Representatives from the US National Economic Council and National Security Agency will use the meeting to make a final warning about the risk of exposing crucial national infrastructure to the risk of Chinese espionage and sabotage due to the firms close links to the state.
The US, which along with Australia has banned the tech giant from their own 5G networks, has threatened to withhold crucial security intelligence from UK authorities if Mr Johnson defies their warnings.
But the PM is said to be on the verge of allowing very limited Huawei involvement in building the next generation mobile phone network instead of having to rely on just two suppliers – Nokia and Ericsson.
In a further sign that the Government will hand Huawei a role in building the network, the head of MI5 Andrew Parker said there was no reason to think that our intelligence sharing relationship with the US would be put at risk by the move.
He told the Financial Times the relationship was the strongest theyve been and the partnership was “very close and trusted”.
‘VERY CLOSE AND TRUSTED’
Reminding the US that the intelligence partnership is mutually beneficial, he said: “It is a two-way street.
A final decision is expected at a meeting of the National Security Council next week after months of delay from Theresa May and Mr Johnson.
The other option is a complete ban, sources said.
Granting Huawei a role would risk sparking another diplomatic row with Donald Trump, who has repeatedly warned that it could give the Chinese intelligence services a backdoor into our critical national infrastructure.
But MPs on Parliaments intelligence and security committee have warned that the indecision is causing serious damage to our international relationships.
A report by Oxford Economics warned that excluding Huawei would increase the cost of building 5G infrastructure to between 8 and 29 per cent over the next decade.
And it said the move would also delay 5G access to millions of people.
Millions fewer people would be covered by 5G in 2023 compared to if the Chinese tech giant were involved, according to Oxford Economics.
Victor Zhang, Huawei Senior Vice-President, said: Huawei is a private company that has supplied telecommunications equipment to UK customers since 2005.
Our 5G technology does not pose a security risk and two parliamentary committees have concluded there is no technical reason to ban us from supplying it in the UK.
The Intelligence & Security committee was also clear that the inclusion of Huawei in 5G public networks would not affect channels used for intelligence sharing. We are confident the government will make a decision based on the evidence alone.
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