Washington had lobbied hard against the Chinese telecoms giant | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images
Boris Johnson allows Huawei to build parts of UK 5G network
Donald Trump had urged Britain to ban the Chinese tech giant.
Updated 1/28/20, 3:17 PM CET
LONDON — Boris Johnson on Tuesday defied Donald Trump and refused to ban Huawei from Britain’s 5G network.
At a meeting of his national security council, the U.K. prime minister approved the use of equipment made by “high-risk vendors” — widely understood to mean Chinese firm Huawei — but restricted access to “sensitive core” parts of the network.
Under proposals set out by the government on Tuesday, it said such vendors will be excluded from all “safety critical networks” in U.K. national infrastructure, though it did not mention the Chinese tech giant by name. These providers will also be subjected to tight restrictions, including exclusions from sensitive locations such as nuclear sites and military bases.
The U.K. has come under intense lobbying from the U.S. against the Chinese firm, which they say poses security risks. The decision on Huawei was repeatedly postponed amid disagreement at the highest level of government.
The White House blasted the decision. “The United States is disappointed by the UK’s decision,” a senior administration official, who declined to be named, said in a statement. “There is no safe option for untrusted vendors to control any part of a 5G network.”
The decision comes at a critical time for the U.K.