Britain may not have made a final decision on allowing China’s Huawei a restricted role in building parts of its 5G network, U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday.
The Trump administration, which has sanctioned Huawei and tried to block it buying U.S. goods, has told allies not to use its 5G technology and equipment because of fears it would allow China to spy on sensitive communications and data.
Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May, met to discuss Huawei last month and a decision was made to block Huawei from all core parts of the 5G network but to give it restricted access to non-core parts.
A final decision by the British cabinet of senior ministers was due to have happened in recent weeks but May’s pledge to step down as prime minister has stalled the process, sources said. She is expected to be out of office by the end of July.
When asked if the United States would like the next British leader to take a tougher stance on Huawei, Bolton said discussions with London were continuing but that Trump would probably raise it when he visits next week.
“I’m not sure that this decision has reached the prime ministerial level in final form. I mean we are still talking,” Bolton told reporters in London. “People are talking back and forth.”
“Everybody is catching up to the dangers posed, especially in 5th-generation telecommunications systems, by equipment from Huawei and potentially others that can allow foreign governments a back door into telecommunications systems,” he said.
5G, which will offer much faster data speeds and become the foundation stone of many industries and networks, is seen as one of the biggest innovations since the birth of the internet itself a generation ago.
In what some have compared to the Cold War arms race, the United States is worried 5G dominance would give a competitor such as China an advantage Washington is not ready to accept.