Huawei’s 35% role in UK’s 5G is incessantly analysed and debated, the pressure to de-Sinofy increases. It is known 68 Conservative MP’s are against the non-core involvement in UK infrastructure (masts, base stations, antennae and radio access network) that is allowed; these 68 are enough to overwhelm the government majority should a vote come to parliament. The UK Defense Select Committee, chaired by MP Tobias Ellwood, have repeatedconcerns about the extent Chinese law compels Huawei to assist the State’s intelligence services.On 30 June Ben Wallace Defence Minister, Oliver Dowden Digital, Culture,Mediaand Sport Minister (DCMS) and Ciaran Martin CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSCis an extension of GCHQ) were called to give evidence in parliament.
Wallace has been urging PM Boris Johnson to heed US warnings,Wallace has called China “a friend of no one”. He met with his US counterpart Mark Esper in March; Wallace gave Michael McCaul, Congressman and Ranking Member of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, the impression he was not sanguine with Huawei’s 5G participation, McCaul says any Huawei participation risks the security of all Five Eye Partners. At the DefCom sessionWallace said Huawei has no direct role in Britain’s defence communication infrastructure, and that the Ministry of Defence is not dependent on any one mode of communication and added “We have no Huawei on our defence estate, on our defence networks”.
Less hawkish Oliver Dowden said the impact of the US sanctions still need to fully understood and DCMS is waiting for moreNCSC analysis before future policy decisions can be made with the PM.
Ciaran Martinechoed “the bulk of the analysis” is complete but more discussions with DCMS were needed before recommendations could be made.Speaking at Chatham House in June, Martin outlined two risks from a hostile state that cannot be mitigated:that a hostile state could insert and exploit malicious code covertly into a western vendor, and that a hostile state could place a human operative into a western vendor and exploit that access to cause the same disruption. Martin said “if this sort of disruption is possible via Huawei, then it’s possible in all sorts of other ways too that should also be of grave concern.”
Extensive evidence by James Sullivan, RUSI’s Head of Cyber Research, recommended “Political and economic considerations may be the overriding factors that lead to the decision to ban a particular vendor for some governments. This may be an entirely legitimate policy approach. But governments must be clear about the extent to which political, rather than technical, factors inform their decision-making relating to 5G. They should not seek to mask these political considerations with weak assertions about technical risk management.”
On the same day as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s statement that Huawei and ZTE are US national security threats Johnson said “On Huawei and other matters the position is very simple. I’m not going to get drawn into Sinophobia because I’m not a Sinophobe. On the other hand, I do want to see our critical national infrastructure properly protected from hostile state vendors. So we need to strike that balance and that’s what we’ll do.”
In June Republican Senator Tom Cotton told DefCom that China was using Huawei to drive a high-tech wedge between UK and US. Eric Schmidt, Silicon Valley veteran and Chair of the Pentagon Defence Innovation Board, told the BBC that Huawei is challenging US leadership and that the West should compete by building a better product.The Pentagon supplied a list http://prod-upp-image-read.ft.com/466e4a3a-b651-11ea-b5d9-84704a744f61to Congress and law-makers of 20 Companies operating in the US that are somehow owned, affiliated or controlled by the CCP,PLA or the Chinese defence industry, Huawei was listed.
MP Iain Duncan Smith earlier discovered that MI5 uses a system provider that is heavily dependent on Huawei equipment.British network carrier BT/EE is involved with Huawei. Declan Gangley, the Irish telecom entrepreneur, has been highlighting emerging problems in UK’s emergency services network and the HS2 project; BT has delayed the £500million removal of Huawei from EE until 2023.Gangley advocates that the UK choose “to pursue a wholesale, open-access network would radically undermine Chinese discountingand subsidies that underpin the Chinese network-financing strategy. This would cast doubt over Beijing’s entire strategy, and would deter those non-Chinese financial institutions currently assisting Beijing’s financing of Western networks by calling into question the long term value of those investments. By accelerating that price decline dramatically, an open access, wholesale wireless network in the U.K. (and subsequently beyond) would obliterate ten years of financial planning by the Chinese and their non-Chinese co-financiers.”
In May Huawei entered into a five year partnership with Imperial College London, aimed at growing the UK’s data science and innovation ecosystem, and becoming a founding partner in the Leonardo Centre – an initiative at Imperial College Business School that explores and experiments with new ways of doing business.In June Cambridge planners granted Huaweiapproval for an office and a £1billion research centre at a 550acre site in Sawston, Huawei’s 3rd R&D centre in the area and the 7th in Britain. The 50,000 sqft R&D centre will develop photonics (chips) used for data communications and new technologies, it will provide 400 jobs.
Recently Sir Michael Rake, former President of the Confederation of British Industry and former BT chairman joined Huawei Technologies UK board, previously he was an advisor.
It’s not just the Chinese mobile phone carrier lobby who extend their blessings to Beijing, the 48 Group Club continue to promote positive Sino-British relations and strategic consultancy.This week the Club Chairman Stephen Perrywas obliged to issue a clarification statement about the Group’s purpose after allegations of unstoppable Chinese influence made in the book ‘Hidden Hand’ by Australian academic Clive Hamilton surfaced. The Club motto is “Equality and mutual benefit”, it has been established for 74 years and currently has 650 members. A cached website details patrons and a distinguished list of international current fellowshttps://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:HjPJY76qm8QJ:https://www.the48groupclub.com/about-the-club/whos-who/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk.
Former PM and Chancellor David Cameron and George Osborne are accountable for accepting China as UK’s “best friend forever”;remembering Deng Xiaoping’s collaborative approach they accepted billions of investment without much scrutiny or thought for the future,then came Xi Jinping’s who changed everything, gone is the golden era of UK China relations. Michael Heaver of Westmonster reports Populus polling for the China Research Group finds that only 12% of the public are happy for a Chinese company to build a nuclear power station in Britain (Hinkley Point), with 62% against.When asked if Huawei as a Chinese company should be able to supply sensitive parts of our next generation phone networks, only 17% are in favour compared to 49% who oppose such a move.
Until the policy changes the government will: ● exclude high risk vendor equipment from the core of the UK’s 5G and full fibre networks● limit high risk vendor equipment to a minority presence in other network functions up to a cap of 35 per cent ● work with our allies to develop market alternatives so that in time we can cut the need to include any high risk vendor equipment remaining within our telecommunications network.
The reach of the Chinese app TikTok to cell phones of the average citizen and the attempts to hide the Chinese origins of tech mobile companies such as One Plus, that are marketed under English brand names but owned by BKK Electronics, compound the risks of foreign investment. Foreign takeovers of UK businesses with national security implications arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, appear to have brought forward the Government’s desire to implement the legislative reforms announced in the Queens Speech. UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma commented during a press conference that the upcoming National Security and Investment Bill will aim to protect firms in vital sectors from foreign takeovers.