The United States has now taken to publicly dissuade the UK from allowing Huawei into their country.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter recently to say that the UK faced a momentous decision that could affect its sovereignty. He also retweeted a tweet by Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who stressed that data was as crucial as land to maintain sovereignty. Pompeo emphasised that Tugendhat has “the right idea”. It is worth noting that Tugendhat, who also equated allowing Huawei as “handing control to Beijing”, is also currently seeking re-election on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
The UK has a momentous decision ahead on 5G. British MP Tom Tugendhat gets it right: “The truth is that only nations able to protect their data will be sovereign.” https://t.co/8lLEUEUxdL
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 26, 2020
Pompeo’s tweets affirmed the US’s efforts in lobbying to prevent Huawei from entering Britain. But why is the US bothered about what the UK does? The UK is a part of an informal group of nations that share intelligence with each other. The group also includes the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The US has expressed fears that allowing Huawei to build 5G infrastructure in the UK could compromise this intelligence-sharing system. Since the beginning, the United States has been against Huawei (which has often been accused of working closely with the Chinese government).
Despite US’s objections, the United Kingdom is mostly confident in allowing Huawei, albeit in a limited role. Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier said that those opposing the brand must also suggest better alternatives. Home Secretary Priti Patel said that confidential discussions were happening about the issue. But suspicions persist, even within Britain. On Monday, former UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt raised doubts about depending on one country for critical things like 5G technology.