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Mike Pompeo urges UK to 'relook' at Huawei 5G decision as he warns Chinese firm poses 'real risk'

3 min read

Mike Pompeo has urged the UK to "relook" at its decision to allow Chinese firm Huawei to build parts of the country's 5G network as he warned the tech giant posed a "real risk" to security.

The US Secretary of State issued the plea to exclude the Chinese firm from the communications project as he landed in the UK for talks with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

On Tuesday, ministers gave the green-light to allow Huawei to build part of the "non-core" sections of the high speed network, despite a backlash from Tory MPs and US officials.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport also vowed to exclude Huawei from "all safety related and safety critical networks" saying the Chinese firm along with other "high-risk vendors" would be restricted to supplying equipment to 35% of the network, and would not be allowed near "sensitive parts" of the link.

The Prime Minister has already insisted the decision would not "imperil our relationship" with Donald Trump despite repeated warnings from US officials that allowing Huawei access to UK networks could put a halt on intelligence sharing between the two countries.

The tech firm has consistently denied having links with the Chinese state.

But speaking to reporters on his arrival in the UK, Mr Pomeo said: "Our view of Huawei has been that putting it in your system creates real risk.

"This is an extension of the Chinese Communist Party with a legal requirement to hand over information to the Chinese Communist Party."

He added: "We are urging them [the UK] to make a decision that was different than the one they made and we'll have a conversation about how to proceed.

"There is also a chance for the UK to relook at this implementation moves forward, and then it's important for everyone to know there is also real work being done by lots of private companies inside the US and in Europe to make sure that there are true competitors to Huawei.

And in a hint the US could consider cutting back on intelligence sharing following the decision, he added: "We will make sure that when American information passes across a network we are confident that that network is a trusted one."

His warning from Donald Trump's top diplomat come after a raft of senior Conservative MPs lined up to slam the decision, with former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith branding the move "utterly bizzare".

The senior Tory backbencher said it "beggars belief" ministers have approved the decision given the UK had "a cyber war going on with China".

Meanwhile, former Brexit Secretary David Davis warned the growing use of internet connected technology meant "every piece of information about us, from our doctor's appointments to when we put the kettle on is going to be online and accessible to these people.

"So you do not want to give that power to a foreign state, frankly."

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