In a letter seen by the BBC, the UK’s telephone network operators have reportedly asked the government to clarify its position on the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei over fears it could impact the country’s 5G ambitions.
China’s ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming has warned the British government in response to attempts to block Huawei from developing 5G networks. He stated that the moves would negatively impact Chinese trade and investment ties with the United Kingdom.
“It will send a very bad message, not only to Huawei but also to Chinese businesses,” Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told the BBC.
Blocking Huawei would lead to “bad effects not only on trade but also on investment,” he added.
Concerned over lack of clarity on the Huawei issue, the UK’s telephone network operators have reportedly written to the government asking for it to be clearer about its position on the Chinese telecommunications giant over fears it could impact the country’s 5G ambitions.
In a letter addressed to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill, seen by the BBC, telecoms leaders requested a meeting with politicians to discuss their concerns, saying they are unable to decide whether Huawei technology will be approved for use in the new 5G network.
In April, details of a meeting of the UK’s National Security Council to discuss Huawei’s role in UK telecoms infrastructure were leaked, leading to a report that Prime Minister Theresa May would grant Huawei limited access.
Following an investigation into the leak, then-defence secretary Gavin Williamson was sacked, despite denying complicity.
The government has since said no decision has been made over Huawei’s presence in 5G networks.
Huawei is the world’s largest telecom company and a leading supplier of next generation connectivity equipment, which has found itself in the crosshairs as Donald Trump’s administration introducing a ban on use of the Chinese company’s technology, baring US companies from trading with the company without government approval.
The US has accused Huawei of exploiting cyber infrastructure on behalf of China’s ruling Communist Party, threatening to curb intelligence co-operation with any country that allows Huawei equipment to be used in its own networks.
The Chinese tech giant has adamantly denied all accusations.