WASHINGTON. – The United States could cut off security ties with the UK if the government of Prime Minister Theresa May proceeds with plans to involve Chinese telecommunications company Huawei in the development of Britain’s next-generation internet network, a top US senator has warned.
Senator Chris Coons, a Democratic member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, warned on Saturday it was “certainly possible” measures could be taken following leaked reports that the UK may allow Huawei to work on “non-core” elements of its 5G telecom network, such as antennae.
Asked whether the US could cut off security co-operation with Britain if Huawei won contracts, the Democratic senator told BBC Radio 4 that, “It’s certainly possible. I would hope that we would not take such a dramatic step without careful consultation and consideration. The US-UK alliance is the most important, most central security alliance, so I would hope we would only take that step as a last resort after very close consultation.”
As part of a congressional resolution introduced to the US Senate, Coons claimed that Huawei posed a risk to the interests of the US and its allies because of concerns about the Chinese tech giant’s alleged closeness with the authorities in Beijing.
The senator admitted that no American company could compete with Huawei when it came to 5G technology and the West needed to come up with its own alternative.
“The United States does not currently have a deployable, global competitor to Huawei in providing the backbone of 5G. A number of American telecom companies are racing to deliver 5G in the US, but I think we need to step up a multilateral effort to make sure that we’ve got a cost-competitive alternative to Huawei,” he added.
The warning came after reports emerged that May, during a National Security Council meeting last month, had allegedly cleared Huawei to work on parts of the UK’s developing 5G network.
Faced with widespread backlash, she fired Gavin Williamson, the former defense secretary, earlier this week, saying there was “compelling evidence” he was behind the leak – an allegation Williamson denies.
May’s critics have demanded a rethink of the decision, saying allies like the US and Australia have banned the Chinese company from similar plans.
China’s ambassador to London has said the UK government should think of its national interests while dealing with the case rather than bowing to external pressure.
Huawei last year surpassed Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer behind Samsung.
According to some experts, America’s real motive in attacking Huawei is not because the company poses a genuine security threat, but because it is a rival in a crucial sector of the world economy in which America has enjoyed unrivaled supremacy for decades. – Press TV