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Blocking Huawei will harm China-UK relations

2020-01-22

Source:Global Times    Published: 2020-1-20


Refusing Huawei will severely harm China-UK relations and undermine Chinese companies' confidence in the British investment environment, Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming told the Global Times on Monday.


The likely plan to not use Huawei will also "hinder the development of the British telecommunications industry and hurt Britain's image in the eyes of global investors as an open and inclusive partner for cooperation," the ambassador said in an emailed reply to questions from the Global Times.


He noted that the attitude of the UK, as a major player in the telecommunications sector, is very important.


The ambassador's remarks came at a critical time when pressure from the US to push against Huawei has put the UK government in a difficult position as it decides whether or not to include Huawei technology in the UK rollout of 5G networks.


A government decision is expected this month on the inclusion or refusal of Huawei technology for the UK's 5G networks.


In a fresh sign of pressure, the US has lately warned the UK government that using Huawei technology in the UK's 5G network would be "madness."


A certain country is hyping up the so-called "Huawei threat", clamoring for a "technology cold war", mounting pressure on its allies, and attempting to build a "wall" that divides the global telecommunications sector, Liu said.


He suggested that "the British government would resist the pressure, ignore external interruptions and remain committed to independent decision-making."


China has reiterated its solemn position on many occasions regarding the participation of Huawei in Britain's 5G development, with the ambassador doubling down on the nation's stance that Huawei technology is safe, the company has made tremendous contribution to China-UK cooperation, and the harm of banning Huawei is obvious.


"Economic globalization is an irreversible trend of our times. Countries should choose multilateralism over unilateralism and hegemony, choose win-win cooperation over putting one's own country first, and work to tear down walls instead of erecting them," read his emailed remarks.


Banning Huawei is a move against this trend, which could lead to serious losses in terms of time, expense and competitiveness, he stressed.


Excluding Huawei from Britain's 5G network would mean that Britain's telecommunications system would be more expensive, and would be upgraded to 5G standards later than necessary without the participation of Huawei, analysts said.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also been facing this dilemma, John Ross, a senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University of China, told the Global Times in a recent interview.


"Johnson already has significant economic problems because the effect of Brexit on the British economy has been extremely negative," he said, noting that the effects of the choice taken regarding Britain's 5G network will last for many years - including up to 2024, when Johnson will face a new election.


"He, therefore, does not want to face the electoral consequences of the burden of a late-delivered and expensive 5G system," Ross noted.


After Brexit, Johnson's entire geopolitical and economic strategy is based on securing a trade deal with the US - in effect subordinating Britain even further to the US, and these contradictory pressures explain the extremely fierce fight taking place in Britain over whether to allow Huawei to participate in Britain's 5G network, he added.


John Ross is senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.

Key Words: China-UK relations   5G   RDCY   John Ross  

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