The ongoing showdown over the UK’s decision to revisit Huawei’s role in the country’s 5G network is heating up.
In contrast to the US, Australia and New Zealand, the UK is the only one of the so-called “Five Eyes” alliance of countries that formally decided to include Huawei in its 5G network plans, albeit in a limited role. Meanwhile, the fifth member of the Five Eyes, Canada, is still undecided.
Ultimately, however, multiple factors have forced the UK to revisit its initial decision. US officials have warned that involving Huawei in its network would force the US to reconsider its military and intelligence assets within the UK. On top of that, the US has taken measures to limit Huawei’s access to the semiconductor chips it needs for its equipment, further endangering the UK’s plans.
Now that the UK is officially reviewing the decision, parties on both sides are mounting increasing pressure. According to CNBC, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has come out in favor of the UK’s security review, telling BBC radio “I trust that the U.K. government will design their networks in ways that protect the networks and make sure that the U.K. has secure 5G networks.”
On the flip side, Huawei is pulling out the stops to win over public opinion. According to the BBC, the Chinese company is engaging in a newspaper and internet media blitz to remind the British public that it has been in business in the UK for some 20 years.
Ultimately, there will be winners and losers regardless of what the UK decides. If it continues with its plans to include Huawei, it risks its “special relationship” with the US. If, on the other hand, it bans Huawei as the US has done, it risks alienating one of its biggest trading partners.