Chinese telecom giant Huawei is willing to sign ‘no-spy agreements’ with governments including the UK, the company’s chairman, Liang Hua said last Tuesday, as the head of NATO said Britain must ensure the security of its mobile networks.
It follows fears from some countries that Huawei would have no choice but to hand over network data to the Chinese government if asked for it.
The Chinese company has vehemently denied the claims that it poses any risks of espionage; adding that it is independent from the Chinese Government. Nevertheless, some countries, including Australia and New Zealand, have blocked it from their 5G networks on national security grounds.
After months of uncertainty, the UK appears set to allow Huawei’s telecoms equipment to be part of the country’s 5G networks, with some limitations.
“We are willing to sign no-spy agreements with governments, including the UK government, to commit ourselves to making our equipment meet the no-spy, no-backdoors standard,” Laing told reporters at a business conference last Tuesday.
Huawei currently has the most advanced and cheapest 5G service in the world.
Washington has warned the UK that it may have to limit security and intelligence sharing if it allows the Chinese telecom company to play a significant role in the 5G network.
The worlds two largest economies have been locked in a bruising trade battle for the past year. Earlier this month, the US more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion (£154.9 billion) of Chinese goods which prompted China to impose tariff hikes on US products.
The Huawei debate has drawn Britain into China’s battle for global dominance with the US. It has also split Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet in two – those who view China as an essential trade partner in Britain’s post-Brexit future and ministers who agree with Washington’s view of Beijing being a surveillance threat.