US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has again criticised the UK government’s decision to allow Huawei involvement in the construction of their 5G network, when speaking in London.
Speaking at the Centre of Policy Studies, Pompeo invoked the name of Margaret Thatcher, asking “would the Iron Lady be silent when China violates the sovereignty of nations, through corruption and coercion?”
This is in reaction to Theresa May’s decision to allow the Chinese company to aid the construction of ‘non-core’ parts of the 5G infrastructure. Some reports suggest the Prime Minister followed advice from a report published by the National Cyber Security Centre, an arm of GCHQ. It stated that Huawei’s threats to the future of the 5G network could be handled and minimised.
This decision has proven divisive, meeting strong condemnation and leading to the Prime Minister sacking Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson over a National Security Council leak.
It has also met staunch US criticism, as Pompeo said that his thoughts were “well known” regarding Huawei’s involvement, and urged the UK government to resist the company’s wishes.
He sees the attempt to intervene in the construction of the UK’s 5G network as an effort to “divide western alliances through bits and bytes, not bullets and bombs”, to use the infrastructure for political leverage.
Pompeo concluded by urging the UK to re-consider its position on the matter, as it threatens the ability to share vital intelligence within trusted networks to such partners as the US.
When receiving questions after his speech, Pompeo commented that the nature of Anglo-American economic and defence ties could be reconsidered if the UK pushes ahead with it’s plans for Huawei.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt remarked that the UK would never take actions or steps that would jeopardise intelligence dissemination amongst Five Eyes states (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand).