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UK PM Johnson on Huawei: “We must protect from hostile state vendors”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that Britain needs to defend its critical national infrastructure from “hostile state vendors” when choosing which role China’s Huawei should play in the 5G network of the country.

Britain is forcing a stricter stance on China because of a crackdown in Hong Kong and heavy pressure from the United States to prohibit Huawei from its 5G network. In January, Huawei was authorised a limited role in Britain’s 5G network.

Asked whether China’s new security legislation would affect Britain’s decision to restrict Huawei’s role in the 5G network or not, Johnson said: “I’m not going to get dragged into Sinophobia because I’m not a Sinophobe.”

“On Huawei, the position is very, very simple,” Johnson told reporters. “I do want to see our critical national infrastructure properly protected from hostile state vendors, so we need to strike that balance, and that’s what we’ll do.”

The British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has researched the effect of US steps announced in May, which are intended to restrict Huawei’s ability to source the advanced microchips required to manufacture its 5G equipment and flagship smartphones.

In January, Britain classified Huawei as a “high-risk vendor”, capping its 5G involvement at a market share of 35 per cent and barring it from the networks data-heavy core.

Johnson said he was extremely concerned by China’s decision to pass national security legislation in Hong Kong.

“We are obviously deeply concerned about the decision to pass the National Security Law in Beijing as it affects Hong Kong,” he said after a speech on how to restore Britain following COVID-19.

“We will be looking at the law very carefully, and we want to scrutinise it properly, to understand whether it conflicts with the joint declaration between the UK and China.”

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