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
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
“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.