Britain says U.S. action will play a role in Huawei decision

June 13, 2019

WATFORD, England (Reuters) – Britain cannot disregard U.S. restrictions on China’s Huawei in deciding whether the equipment maker can participate in the roll-out of next generation 5G networks, British digital minister Jeremy Wright said on Thursday.

The Trump administration, which has sanctioned Huawei and tried to block it buying U.S. goods, has told allies not to use its 5G technology and equipment because of fears it would allow China to spy on sensitive communications and data.

Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations against it.

“I don’t think it would be realistic not to recognize that, when you have a hugely interconnected sector, when you have a situation where even Huawei equipment has U.S. componentry and IP in it, you can’t disregard what the U.S. administration decide to do,” he told reporters.

“They are all factors to be considered and we are considering them.”

Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May, met to discuss Huawei in April and a decision was made to block Huawei from all core parts of the 5G network but to give it restricted access to non-core parts.

A final decision by the British cabinet of senior ministers was due to have happened in recent weeks but May’s pledge to step down as prime minister has stalled the process, sources said. She is expected to be out of office by the end of July.

Wright said until a final decision is made, Britain’s telecoms companies should show “all due caution” when deciding whether to launch 5G services based on Huawei equipment.

(Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by Paul Sandle)

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