President Donald Trump said that he was responsible for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to ban Huawei from Britain’s 5G network from the end of 2027, Reuters writes.
On Tuesday, Johnson ordered Huawei equipment to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by the end of 2027, risking the ire of China by signaling that the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker is not welcome in the West.
“We convinced many countries, many countries, I did this myself for the most part, not to use Huawei, because we think it is an unsafe security risk, it’s a big security risk,” Trump said, before referring to the UK ban.
Britain’s move reverses a decision in January, when the country said Huawei equipment could be used in its new 5G network on a limited basis, The New York Times reported.
Since then, Prime Minister Johnson has faced growing political pressure domestically to take a harder line against Beijing, and in May, the United States imposed new restrictions to disrupt Huawei’s access to important components.
Britain’s about-face signals a new willingness among Western countries to confront China, a determination that has grown firmer since Beijing last month adopted a sweeping law to tighten its grip on Hong Kong, the semiautonomous city that was a British colony until 1997. On Tuesday, Robert O’Brien, President Trump’s national security adviser, was in Paris for meetings about China with counterparts from Britain, France, Germany and Italy.
Huawei’s critics say its close ties to the Chinese government mean Beijing could use the equipment for espionage or to disrupt telecommunications — a point the company strongly disputes.
Arguing that Huawei created too much risk for such a critical, multibillion-dollar project, the British government said Tuesday that it would ban the purchase of new Huawei equipment for 5G networks after December, and that existing gear already installed would need to be removed from the networks by 2027.
“As facts have changed, so has our approach,” Oliver Dowden, the government minister in charge of telecommunications, told the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon. “This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the U.K.’s telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run.”