In Western intelligence agencies there is no issue more divisive than Huawei, the Chinese telecom sells sophisticated communications technology. The U.S. intelligence community argues that any reliance on Huawei technology is an inherent security risk, given the firm’s connections to the Chinese government. President Trump has forbidden U.S. firms from buying Huawei products, while the chief of MI5, the U.K..’s equivalent of the FBI, has asserted that the risk posed by Huawei is manageable.
Now the the U.K. has decided to limit–but not ban–the use of Huawei products in the country’s 5G networks
The UK’s national security council (NSC) – a meeting of senior ministers, intelligence and service chiefs chaired by Johnson – decided on Tuesday morning that Huawei could supply 5G equipment, but that it would be subject to what the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said was “one of the strongest regimes for telecoms security in the world”. The company’s share of the new market will be capped at 35% for each of Britain’s four mobile phone operators, and it will be banned from core parts of the telecoms net
Unnamed sources told the Guardian that the United States is prepared to go along.
The Trump administration had given a series of strongly worded warnings about the security risks in the run-up to the decision, but was preparing to soften its stance after a phone call between the British prime minister and the US president on Tuesday afternoon.
Sources said that while the US remained disappointed with the decision to allow “an untrusted vendor” into the UK market, the security and economic relationship between the two countries was too important to jeopardise in a row over mobile phone technology.
If true, that would mark a climbdown from the U.S. position articulated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last year.
“If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them, we won’t be able to work alongside them,” Pompeo said. “We’re not going to put American information at risk,