Boris Vs Beijing: Johnson tells officials to cut Huawei 5G involvement after virus crisis

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Boris Johnson is understood to have told officials to draw up plans to scale back Huawei’s involvement in the key national infrastructure. The involvement of the firm in the network bought triggered concerns over national security as Chinese firms by law must share information with the central government in Beijing. An insider told The Telegraph: “He still wants a relationship with China but the Huawei deal is going to be significantly scaled back.

“Officials have been instructed to come up with a plan to reduce Huawei’s involvement as quickly as possible.


“He has taken a great many soundings from his own MPs on this issue and shares their serious concerns.

“The deal was struck before the pandemic hit but coronavirus has changed everything.”

The involvement of Huawei in the network was first agreed under previous Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mr Johnson could visit the US for the G7 summit next month and previously Tory MPs warned the decision to involve Huawei would leave Britain “utterly friendless” due to concerns about spying.

Though the Camp David event originally looked to move to video conferencing, Donald Trump tweeted this week: “Now that our Country is ‘Transitioning back to Greatness’, I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David.

“The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!”

Trump has previously been critical of Britain allowing Huawei to building 35 percent of its 5G network.

He even threatened to restrict British access to the shared Five Eyes intelligence network which contains the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Mike Pence, the Vice-President has also said the Trump administration was disappointed with the decision.

Before the pandemic hit, several senior Tories rebelled against the Government to vote for an amendment to remove Huawei from the 5G network by 2022.

This included Sir Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis, Damian Green and Owen Patterson.


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Though several MPs have voiced support for the amendment, some have criticised attaching it to an unrelated bill.

Some Tories have begun a research group to examine the rise of China.

Tom Tugendhat, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Chair explained: “Beijing’s long pattern of information suppression has contributed to the unfolding crisis.

“The (Chinese Communist) Party are now using the current emergency to build influence around the world.”

Sir Mike Rake, the former chairman of BT and now a non-executive director of Huawei, has warned in an open letter the removal of Huawei would result in increased costs and damage Sino-British trade.

Three G7 members are in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network: Canada, the UK and the US.

The G7 also contains France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The European Union is also a member and will be represented by Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

If the Camp David event happens in person it will be Mr Johnson’s first foreign trip since the pandemic began.

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