UK bans Huawei from 5G network, increasing tensions with China

“American sanctions left the UK with few options,” said Priya Guha, a former British diplomat who represented the country’s interests in Silicon Valley. “There was a little checkmate in the United States”

Huawei spent the past few weeks pressing against a ban, emphasizing its investments in Britain. Members of Huawei’s UK advisory board, made up of British business leaders, including former BP chief executive John Browne, urged Mr Johnson’s assistants to take a more moderate approach. (A few hours before the government announcement Tuesday, Huawei said Browne would leave the directory.)

Many see the Huawei dispute as a harbinger of future conflicts, and other high-profile companies get tangled up. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was considering actions against Chinese apps, including the popular social media service TikTok, owned by a Chinese internet company.

Last week, US tech giants Facebook, Twitter, and Google, all already blocked from the censored internet in mainland China, suspended the processing of Hong Kong government requests for user data due to a new national security law requiring censorship. Police and digital surveillance. The new law could result in fines, seizures of equipment, or even arrests of company employees if the requests are denied.

Britain’s decision to ban Huawei will put pressure on other European countries. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is urged to keep the company out of a new 5G network, but she is weighing the economic consequences for German automakers, for whom China is a critical market. Australia has issued a ban, and Canada is considering one as well.

“If Huawei stops dead, that represents a very important turning point for China’s ability to achieve its goals,” said Nigel Inkster, senior adviser to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, who wrote a book on the technology. battle between the United States and China. “That would be very consistent.”

Inkster, a former member of the British intelligence service, warned that the West runs the risk of provoking China if it feels more economically isolated. “There is a serious need to think carefully about whether it is realistic to fully disconnect from China in these areas,” he said.