Tuesday

4th Oct 2022

US and UK in war of words over Huwaei

  • The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, tweeted on Sunday night that the UK has a 'momentous decision' ahead on 5G (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

British ministers are expected to allow Huawei limited access to the UK's 5G networks at the National Security Council on Tuesday (28 January), amid concerns over the firm's links to China's intelligence services.

While 3G made mobile internet possible and 4G allowed mobile broadband, 5G is expected to become the connectivity infrastructure that will pave the way for new product and services, such as self-driving cars or industrial robotics.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We are going to come up with a solution (…) to have access to fantastic technology, fantastic communications, but also [to] protect our security interests and protect our key partnerships with other security powers around the world," British prime minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Monday.

In what some have compared to a "tech Cold War", Huawei will be only be allowed to supply non-core network equipment, having restricted access to central security systems in the UK, according to Reuters.

This action would place Britain in the middle of a geopolitical tug of war over Huawei, which the US has completely banned from its 5G networks over security risks - and is pushing its allies to do the same.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, tweeted on Sunday night that the UK has a "momentous decision" ahead on 5G while endorsing British Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat's warning about "the real cost" of such decision.

"Sovereignty means control of data as much as land. We need to decide what we're willing to invest in and who were willing to share our tech with," said Tugendhat.

"The real costs will come later if we get this wrong and allow Huawei to run 5G," he added.

Trade deal at risk?

Additionally, the UK-US free trade deal which Johnson is wanting to sign by the end of the year could also be affected by any UK defiance of US president Donald Trump's warnings over the Chinese firm.

Three republican senators - Tom Cotton, John Cornyn and Marco Rubio - sent a letter over the weekend to Britain's National Security Council urging Huawei to be banned from 5G development.

"The company's actions show a clear record of predatory and problematic behaviour," the letter said, adding it would "in the best interest of the United Kingdom, the US-UK special relationship, and the health and wellbeing of a well-functioning market for 5G technologies to exclude Huawei".

However, the UK's former foreign secretary, MP Jeremy Hunt, made clear the autonomy of the UK to make this decision.

If the UK decides to give the green light to Huawei's future role in the British 5G network, "I hope there will also be some reflection in the US because we have never needed the Western alliance to be stronger than now," he told BBC Radio 4 on Monday.

EU's response to 5G

The European Commission is expected to unveil this month a so-called "toolbox" of security standards for 5G, which are based on a set of recommendations designed to help EU member states mitigate risks arising from 5G technology - such as espionage and sabotage.

However, this toolbox will not target any specific country or provider, leaving the door open for possible cooperation with the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Stakeholder

Digital 'Iron Curtain' makes no sense in 5G era

5G technology is a product of global innovation and cooperation. Drawing an Iron Curtain would therefore have an impact on all: Chinese, Europeans, Americans, and others alike.

Stakeholder

Security and privacy challenges for next generation 5G technologies

As the 5G era is drawing near, it is important to facilitate dialogue between the security and privacy communities, and all other parties who contribute to 5G technologies, in order to provide enough protection for the 'everything-connected' world.

Some EU states face delays in 5G preparation

National governments secured a one-year extension for publishing plans to make radio frequencies available for mobile communications - but some were nevertheless unable to meet the deadline.

Opinion

The Greek Watergate

In the European Parliament hearing into espionage against Greek politicians and reporters, the spied-upon journalists recounted their experiences — but the non-answers provided by the Greek government official were embarrassing, confrontative, and institutionally vacant.

Investigation

NSO surveillance rival operating in EU

As European Parliament hearings into hacking scandals resume this week, an investigation led by Lighthouse Reports with EUobserver, Der Spiegel, Domani and Irpimedia reveals the unreported scale of operations at a shady European surveillance outfit.

News in Brief

  1. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation
  2. Greece to unveil proposal for capping EU gas prices
  3. Four dead, 29 missing, after dinghy found off Canary Islands
  4. Orbán: German €200bn shield is start of 'cannibalism in EU'
  5. Lithuania expels top Russian diplomat
  6. Poland insists on German WW2 reparations
  7. Russia halts gas supplies to Italy
  8. Bulgaria risks hung parliament after inconclusive vote

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Last-minute legal changes to Bosnian election law stir controversy
  2. EU wants probe into alleged Nagorno-Karabakh war crimes
  3. EU officials were warned of risk over issuing financial warning
  4. EU debates national energy plans amid calls for more coordination
  5. What Modi and Putin’s ‘unbreakable friendship’ means for the EU
  6. EU leaders have until Friday for refugee resettlement pledges
  7. Cities and regions stand with citizens and SMEs ahead of difficult winter
  8. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us