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US tells UK using Huawei 5G gear would be ‘nothing short of madness,’ report says


The United States reportedly presented Britain with new evidence showing that the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G networks would put intelligence sharing at risk.

Allowing Huawei access to the U.K.’s rollout of fifth-generation mobile internet would be “nothing short of madness,” U.S. officials told their U.K. counterparts, according to a report from The Guardian newspaper. A U.S. delegation visited the country on Monday to try to convince it not to use Huawei gear.

Washington’s concerns over risks to intelligence sharing appear to contradict a claim just a day earlier from MI5 chief Andrew Parker, who said there was “no reason” to assume a longstanding intelligence sharing agreement between the two countries would be affected by Huawei’s involvement in the U.K.’s 5G rollout.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, when asked by the BBC about the news Tuesday, said critics of Huawei should “tell us what’s the alternative,” adding that he didn’t want any 5G infrastructure implemented that would “prejudice our national security or ability to cooperate” with intelligence partners. London is expected to make a decision on whether to include Huawei in its 5G rollout later this month.

President Donald Trump’s administration has placed Huawei under an intense pressure campaign that has seen the Chinese tech giant added to a trade blacklist and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, detained in Canada for extradition to the U.S. on charges of bank and wire fraud. The U.S. contends that gear provided by the world’s top telecom equipment maker contains so-called “back doors” that could be used by China for spying.

Huawei, which has rapidly grown into a major player in the mobile space in the last few years, denies it would ever hand network data to Beijing. The company’s 5G gear is seen by top telecommunications firms as being cheaper and more advanced than other alternatives in the market.

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