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UK security officials to review Huawei involvement in 5G network

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
The UK government will look into Huawei (Getty)
The UK government will look into Huawei (Getty)

After months of speculation, the UK government has confirmed it plans to review the role of Huawei in Britain’s 5G networks.

A report from Reuters newswire said the government is “looking carefully” at the impact the United States new sanctions on the Chinese telecoms giant might have on British networks.

A government spokesman said in a statement: “Following the US announcement of additional sanctions against Huawei, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is looking carefully at any impact they could have to the UK’s networks.”

A government spokesperson also told Times the "security & resilience of our networks is of paramount importance”.

Victor Zhang, vice-president Huawei said: “Our priority remains to continue the rollout of a reliable and secure 5G networks across Britain. We are happy to discuss with NCSC any concerns they may have and hope to continue the close working relationship we have enjoyed for the last ten years.”

On Friday, reports emerged saying that Boris Johnson plans to reduce Huawei’s involvement in UK 5G networks in the wake of the coronavirus.

The prime minister is expected to reduce reliance on China in the coming years as a means to boost relations elsewhere.

Trade talks with US president Donald Trump will be of paramount importance in the aftermath of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

READ MORE: UK plans cut in Huawei's 5G network involvement to zero by 2023

Plans are due to be drawn up to phase out China’s input in British infrastructure to zero by 2023, according to the reports by The Daily Telegraph released on Friday.

Conservative backbench MPs have previously rebelled against decisions to involve Huawei in UK infrastructure.

Although Johnson has a majority of 80, the ranks of backbenchers willing to rebel on the issue is now estimated to enough to defeat the government.

In January, the telecoms equipment maker was granted a seat at the table in 5G development of what the UK government called non-sensitive parts of the network. The government capped its involvement at 35%.

READ MORE: Twitter to guide users to 5G facts in search results

The US has previously raised security concerns about the use of Huawei equipment, warning allies that use of it in their networks means they face being cut off from intelligence feeds.