The Chinese government has sent a not very subtle warning to the United Kingdom, of the consequences of it placing a total ban on Huawei Technologies for 5G networks.
China’s ambassador to the UK, speaking on BBC’s Newsnight, warned that excluding Huawei from Britain’s 5G network “sends a very bad signal.”
Earlier this week a number of mobile operators in the UK had written a letter demanding a firm decision from the Government over whether equipment from Huawei Technologies can be used in their 5G networks.
Then on Thursday British digital minister Jeremy Wright reportedly said that the UK cannot disregard American restrictions on China’s Huawei when it decides what equipment makers can participate in the roll-out of 5G networks.
Into this the Chinese ambassador added to the mix, with Beijing’s view on the matter.
Xiaoming told the BBC that Chinese businesses planning to invest in Britain may be put off dealing with the UK if Huawei’s equipment is not used for the network.
Xiaoming also told Newsnight’s Mark Urban that Huawei was a “good company” and that it contributes “tremendously” to the British economy – employing 7,000 people.
“If [the] UK collaborates with Huawei there would be a promising future on both sides,” the Chinese ambassador was reported as saying.
But he stated that not giving the tech company the role it seeks would “send a bad signal, not only on trade but on investment.”
“Chinese investment is booming in this country,” said Xiaoming. “Even last year it increased by 14 percent, but if you shut the door for Huawei – it sends very bad and negative message to other Chinese businesses.”
In mid April it had been leaked to a British newspaper that the UK’s secretative National Security Council (NSC) had agreed to allow Huawei limited access to help build parts of the network such as antennas and other “non-core” infrastructure.
That draw a sharp reaction from the United States.
The final British decision was expected to have happened by now, but Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to step down as PM has stalled the decision, which is now only expected to be made when she leaves office in late July.
Huawei for its part is having to contend with the fallout after an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in mid May, declared a national security emergency against Chinese firms.
The US Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List, which bans them from buying parts and components from US companies without US government approval.
That decision made it difficult, if not impossible, for Huawei, to sell some products because of its reliance on US suppliers for essential silicon and other components.
The US Commerce Department however has given Huawei a 90-day stay of execution to the imposition of trade restrictions on Huawei, but the Chinese firm said that the extension didn’t ‘mean much’.
Huawei is therefore still allowed to buy US goods until 19 August.
One of the consequences of the US blacklisting is that Google has said that after 19 August, it will restrict Huawei’s access to future Android operating system updates, which impacts Huawei’s ability to offer popular Google apps on its phones in the future.
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