US praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign

US praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign
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Washington is celebrating the United Kingdom’s reversal on allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei into its 5G network, claiming victory after months of pressure on the British government.

In Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s announcement that buying Huawei equipment will be banned at the end of the year and that all existing gear must be ripped out by the end of 2027, he cited the U.S. Commerce Department’s sanctions against the company in May as a turning point for the U.K.

“This was a significant, material change — and one that we have to take into consideration,” Dowden told the House of Commons. “Given the uncertainty this creates around Huawei’s supply chain, the U.K. can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment affected by the change in the U.S. foreign direct product rules.”

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The Commerce sanctions are just one component of a U.S. pressure campaign to dissuade allies from developing their fifth-generation wireless technologies using Huawei’s hardware. American intelligence agencies and regulators have long maintained that Huawei poses a national security threat because of the Chinese Communist Party’s power over companies based in China.

Immediately after the U.K. announced in January that it would allow Huawei technology in its 5G networks, the Trump administration and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle sprang into action, urging their British counterparts to reconsider and even suggesting that following through with the decision could endanger intelligence sharing between the two longtime allies.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo says he and Pentagon warned Russia against bounties on US troops in Afghanistan US blocking private charter flights to Cuba China's Confucius Institute designated as a foreign mission of Beijing MORE, one of the loudest critics of Chinese technology in the Trump administration, said in a statement Tuesday that the British reversal was “welcome news.”

“With this decision, the UK joins a growing list of countries from around the world that are standing up for their national security by prohibiting the use of untrusted, high-risk vendors,” he said referring to other countries — Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Estonia — that have signed joint statements on 5G security with the U.S.

“We will continue to work with our British friends on fostering a secure and vibrant 5G ecosystem, which is critical to Transatlantic security and prosperity,” he added.

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White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the U.K. decision “reflects a growing international consensus” of the threat that vendors like Huawei pose because “they remain beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.”

The U.K.’s shift to that position extends beyond January — Britain in 2005 was the first country to allow Huawei into Europe — and underscores the diplomatic strength the U.S. still retains to push allies toward economically unfavorable positions.

Dowden warned Tuesday that the move away from Huawei would add significant costs and delays of up to two years in deploying 5G.

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), who testified before the House of Commons Defence Select Committee in June about the threats that Huawei could pose to U.S.-U.K. intelligence sharing, said in a statement Tuesday that Britain’s decision “alleviates the US’s critical concern that any information shared with the UK would inadvertently be shared with the Chinese Communist Party through Huawei’s inclusion in its 5G network.”

During last month’s hearing, committee Chairman Tobias Ellwood said “there is no doubt that we feel the pressure from the United States.”

Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyGOP leaders go into attack mode against Harris Republicans fear disaster in November Gaetz set to endorse primary opponent of fellow Florida GOP lawmaker MORE (Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the House and a co-sponsor of legislation to freeze Huawei out of the U.S. financial system, called the U.K.’s decision “very important,” while Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseChina's Confucius Institute designated as a foreign mission of Beijing Big Ten conference officially cancels fall football season due to coronavirus Ex-NFL receiver Rep. Anthony Gonzalez: Big Ten skipping football season could be 'catastrophic' for athletes MORE (R-Neb.) said Margaret Thatcher “would be proud.”

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawn Hillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Republican senators call on FTC to investigate TikTok over data collection concerns MORE (R-S.D.) praised the U.K., adding that “U.S. communications infrastructure can only be fully secure if our allies have similar safety standards.”

Democrats have been vocal on this issue as well — Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIn the next relief package Congress must fund universal COVID testing Ocasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech New poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts MORE (N.Y.) organized a letter to the House of Commons in March to exclude Huawei from its 5G networks and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Trump says he'd sign bill funding USPS but won't seek changes to help mail voting On The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' MORE (Calif.) urged Europe to avoid the company during a visit to the continent in February.

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Election security advocates see strong ally in Harris Democrats ramp up warnings on Russian election meddling MORE (D-Va.) said in a statement that he “welcomed the developments” and hopes “that the Trump Administration will begin to engage multilaterally with like-minded allies on promoting secure and competitively-priced alternatives to Huawei equipment.”

On Tuesday, Trump claimed credit for the U.K.’s reversal.

“We convinced many countries — many countries, and I did this myself for the most part — not to use Huawei, because we think it’s an unsafe security risk. It’s a big security risk. I talked many countries out of using it. They want to do business with us, they can’t use it,” he said.

The U.K.’s decision is by no means the end of the U.S. campaign against Huawei. O’Brien was in Paris earlier this week for talks with his counterparts from France, Germany, Italy and Britain to discuss issues including China.

The U.K.’s move will likely add to mounting pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to keep Huawei out of her country’s 5G plans.

French officials, meanwhile, have said they will not ban Huawei outright but have encouraged telecom operators not to depend on it.