A delegation of US government officials will arrive in London on the 13th January in the latest attempt to persuade the British government not to use equipment from Huawei, the Chinese technology company in the upgrade of its telecoms infrastructure.
The upcoming meeting with figures including the Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger, the US National Economic Council and National Security Agency was arranged after UK security chiefs gave the green light to Huawei’s involvement, despite espionage fears last month.
The UK’s Minister of State for Security, Brandon Lewis MP told the British Broadcasting Corporation on the 12th of January that a decision on Huawei would be made “relatively soon”.
Whilst appearing on BBC1’s sunday morning Andrew Marr programme, he stated, “As this is a decision the government’s going to make relatively soon i’m afraid I am not going to give you a running commentary or a personal view or anything else on where we are with this.”
Whitehall must weigh the American administrations allegations that the equipment could be used by Chinese security services for corporate and governmental intelligence, against the importance of the UK’s relationship with the Chinese government.
The Shenzhen, China-based Huawei Technologies is currently the world’s leading manufacturer of telecommunications equipment. It has denied that its equipment could be used for spying.
For context, UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace told the Sunday Times that President Trump and his advisers have threatened to cut off some access to normally shared intelligence if the National Security Council opts to go green light Huawei.