Huawei Row Overshadows Trump State Visit To Britain

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Huawei CeBIT 2017

The US president is expected to use a meeting with prime minister Theresa May to warn the UK to ban China from 5G networks

US president Donald Trump is planning to give prominent place to 5G technologies and Chinese telecoms firm Huawei during a three-day state visit this week, amidst international trade tensions that have cast a shadow over network rollout plans.

On Tuesday Trump is scheduled to meet with prime minister Theresa May, at which he is expected to apply further pressure to the UK to ban Huawei from the country’s next-generation networks.

Trump arrived in Britain on Monday and was greeted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace at the beginning of his first day in the country, during which he is also scheduled to lay a wreath in Westminster Abbey.

Tuesday is to be devoted to politics, including the meeting with outgoing prime minister May at 10 Downing Street, and on Wednesday Trump is to visit Portsmouth for events related to the 75th anniversary of D-Day before continuing on to France.

Pressure

“I… am looking very much forward to my visit,” Trump said on Twitter on Monday as he arrived in the country.

At 10 Downing Street Trump is expected to address cooperation on national security between the US and the UK, and to emphasise that this could be harmed in the event that Britain allows Huawei equipment to be used in its 5G networks.

US ambassador Woody Johnson on Sunday told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show he would “caution” the government to move more slowly on a decision as to whether or not to ban Huawei.

Meanwhile, two candidates to succeed May as prime minister, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt and home secretary Sajid Javid, both indicated they were having second thoughts as to whether to ban the Chinese firm.

Javid said he would not want a foreign company to have “access to our very sensitive tech communications”, while Hunt told US television station CBS the UK would not make any decision that would affect its ability to share intelligence with the US.

Both men were involved in an April meeting of the National Security Council that tentatively decided to allow Huawei limited participation in building the UK’s 5G networks.

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson was sacked over the unprecedented leak of the council’s proceedings.

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