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China should be removed from UK’s 5G and nuclear power networks amid Hong Kong row, say Labour

Lisa Nandy said the Government should remove Chinese involvement in the UK's 5G network (PA)

2 min read

The UK needs to phase out Chinese involvement from its 5G and nuclear power networks amid the row over Hong Kong, according to Labour.

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said we need “far greater strategic independence” from Beijing and reassess the national security implications.

Speaking to Times Radio she said Britain must find “home-grown alternatives” to implement super-fast internet amid ongoing controversy over the award of a contract to the Chinese firm Huawei.

“I don't think we should be handing over large chunks of our energy infrastructure, especially our nuclear energy infrastructure, to a country that's behaved in such an aggressive way towards the UK and the people of Hong Kong in recent weeks,” she said.

The Labour frontbencher said the Government has taken “a fairly naive approach to China over the last decade”, suggesting David Cameron’s talk of a “golden era” in Sino-British relations has seen Xi Jinping’s administration “become increasingly assertive", highlighting the situation of the Uighur people and its actions towards Taiwan, as well as what’s currently happening in Hong Kong.

“Four years ago I was the shadow energy secretary raising concerns about Chinese involvement in Hinkley Point nuclear power station,” Ms Nandy said.

“Since then, the Government's given a great stake to Huawei in our 5G network further encroachment on our on our technology.”

She added: “What has changed since the Government gave that 30% stake to Huawei, which, by the way, is designated as a high risk offender by our own security services, is that the United States has withdrawn from some of the technology that supports our 5G network. 

“Which means that China is now in control of some of the technology that underpins our 5G network. 

“That is a potential game changer.

“I think we need far greater strategic independence from China, which means that we need to have home-grown alternatives for our 5G network and our nuclear power.” 

She said the UK needs to have a “constructive dialogue with China”, but added it “has to stand up for not just our own interests, but we've also got to stand up for democracy, the rule of law and human rights across the world, because these are the basis of our international alliances”.

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