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July 21, 2019

UK delays Huawei 5G decision

Business

July 21, 2019

LONDON: A powerful committee of British lawmakers has urged the next prime minister to decide quickly on the role China’s Huawei will have in next-generation 5G telecommunications networks to avert more damage to Britain’s international relations, Reuters reported.The UK is a battleground in a geopolitical tug-of-war over Huawei Technologies, the world’s biggest maker of telecoms networking equipment.

The United States has threatened to cut off intelligence sharing with allies who use Huawei equipment, which it says China could exploit for spying. China has warned Britain that excluding Huawei could hurt investment and trade.

Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by outgoing prime minister Theresa May, discussed the issue in April and decided in principle to block Huawei from critical parts of the 5G network but give it limited access to less sensitive parts.

A final decision was supposed to have been made public in a review of the telecoms supply chain led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, but May’s resignation has stalled the process.

Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said the extent of the delay “is now causing serious damage to our international relationships: a decision must be made as a matter of urgency”.

Three sources told Reuters the government now planned to publish the results of that review as soon as Monday, but that the section on 5G equipment vendors would be “kept back” for the next prime minister to decide.

May’s replacement, either foreign minister Jeremy Hunt or former London mayor Boris Johnson, the frontrunner, will be installed next week.

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