UK may block Huawei to preserve Five Eyes international intelligence relationship

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested the UK might ban Huawei from 5G networks to avoid jeopardising the intelligence-sharing alliance between the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

He was speaking at the Nato leaders’ meeting in Watford, just north of London. Australia and New Zealand have already said they will not include Huawei kit in their 5G infrastructure.

Huawei has strongly denied US allegations that its equipment is used for espionage by the Chinese state. Reports say President Trump has continued to press other countries to exclude the Chinese equipment maker's tech during the Nato summit this week.

In response to a question about a decision from the UK over Huawei, Johnson is quoted as saying: “I don’t want this country to be hostile to investment from overseas.

"On the other hand, we cannot prejudice our vital national security interests nor can we prejudice our ability to cooperate with other Five Eyes security partners. That will be the key criterion that informs our decision about Huawei.”

Decisions due

A Huawei spokesperson told The Guardian: “We’re confident the UK government will continue to take an objective, evidence-based approach to cyber security.

"Our customers trust us because we supply the kind of secure, resilient systems called for by the Nato Declaration and will continue working with them to build innovative new networks.”

In October, it was reported that the UK was due to announce that Huawei would be allowed in ‘non-contentious’ infrastructure in the UK but the decision has not yet emerged.

EU member states are due to agree on EU-level measures to mitigate 5G cybersecurity risks by 31 December 2019, following a report published in October.

By 1 October 2020, Member States must assess the recommendations to determine whether further action is needed.