China’s ambassador to the UK has called Britain’s decision to ban telecoms giant Huawei from its 5G network “disappointing and wrong”.
The UK government has ordered companies to strip equipment from Huawei out of the system by 2027.
It follows sanctions imposed by the US, which claims the Chinese firm poses a national security threat – something Huawei denies.
US President Trump welcomed the UK decision, calling Huawei “unsafe”.
“We convinced many countries, many countries – and I did this myself for the most part – not to use Huawei because we think it’s an unsafe security risk, it’s a big security risk,” he said.
Huawei has repeatedly said it would not cause harm to any country.
In response to the ban, Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming questioned whether the UK can provide a “fair” business environment for foreign firms.
“Disappointing and wrong decision by the UK on Huawei,” he tweeted.
“It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries.”
Huawei’s UK communications director Ed Brewster told BBC’s Newsnight the ban had been announced “because of the pressure from the US”.
“I think this is clear this is not about security this is about trade. This is a US campaign focused on attacking our business and attacking the technology and that is because the US is behind on the technology,” he said.
“Today’s decision is as much driven by trade and US trade policy, US concerns around falling behind in technology. We are in a long-term … trade dispute escalation from the US around how it wants to retain technology leadership.”
Mr Brewster also moved to distance the company from the perception that it is an arm of the Chinese state, adding: “That’s the perception but it’s incorrect. We’re a private technology company. The trust we’ve built up around the world is with our customers (and) the telecoms networks.
“We don’t work for governments, we work for the telecoms networks.”
The UK’s mobile providers are being banned from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after 31 December, and they must also remove all the Chinese firm’s 5G kit from their networks by 2027.
The decision came after the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned that highly restrictive US sanctions meant the security of Huawei’s equipment could not be guaranteed. (Courtesy BBC)