Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally committed to banning Huawei from the UK’s 5G infrastructure on 14 July. Beijing accused the UK of kowtowing to Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric. The UK Government maintains the decision was made in order to protect national security from being compromised by Huawei network backdoors linked to China’s cyber-espionage apparatus.
The Global Times, a major Chinese state-run tabloid, said: “It’s necessary for China to retaliate against the UK, otherwise wouldn’t we be too easy to bully?
“Such retaliation should be public and painful for the UK.”
China hopes that in the long term the UK will forget about 2020’s new security law for Hong Kong, a clear violation of the 1985 Sino-British agreement.
The UK government requires operators to remove all Huawei equipment from the UK’s telecommunications network by 2027.
This gives Huawei the ability to buy time and hopefully wait for the political climate to change and the expectation of a u-turn by the British Government.
The Global Times’ editor, Hu Xijin, tweeted: “The UK can only completely remove Huawei by 2027, which indicates it’s difficult to leave Huawei.
“But there could be a change before and after that.”
In the meantime, Beijing will release the usual threats of economic woes for Britain and that the nation will become a technological back-water if it does not accept Huawei.
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At a press conference in July China’s ambassador to the UK Liu said: “We want to be your friend, but if you want to make China a hostile country, you will have to bear the consequences.”
Donald Trump at a press conference in Washington in mid-July gave China more evidence that the UK was implementing the ban in order to placate the US president.
Mr Turmp said: “I did this myself, for the most part.
“If they want to do business with us, they can’t use it.
“We convinced many countries, many countries, and I did this myself, for the most part, not to use Huawei because we think it’s an unsafe security risk.
“Just today, I believe the UK announced that they’re not going to be using it. And that was up in the air for a long time, but they’ve decided.”
Huawei has by far the most advanced 5G technology and has overtaken Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone supplier.
When Boris Johnson was Mayor of London he said: “I’m a Sinophile and believe we should continue to work with this great and rising power,”
But, things have changed since Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong.
Mr Johnson, by upholding democratic principles and supporting the relationship with the US, has set the UK on a new path where it must find a replacement for Huawei in the quest to upgrade the UK’s networks.
Replacing Huawei will cost the UK billions and could set back the 5G roll-out by at least five years.