LONDON • The British Parliament’s defence committee yesterday said it had found clear evidence that telecoms giant Huawei had colluded with the Chinese state and that Britain may need to remove all its equipment earlier than planned.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July ordered Huawei equipment to be purged from the United Kingdom’s nascent 5G network by the end of 2027. US President Donald Trump had claimed credit for the British decision.
“The West must urgently unite to advance a counterweight to China’s tech dominance,” Mr Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence committee, said. “We must not surrender our national security for the sake of short-term technological development.”
The committee did not go into detail about the nature of the ties, but said it had seen clear evidence of Huawei collusion with “the Chinese Communist Party apparatus”.
Huawei said the report lacked credibility.
“It is built on opinion rather than fact,” a Huawei spokesman said. “We’re sure people will see through these groundless accusations of collusion and remember instead what Huawei has delivered for Britain over the past 20 years.”
Mr Trump identifies China as the United States’ main geopolitical rival, and has accused Beijing of taking advantage over trade and not telling the truth over the coronavirus outbreak.
Washington and its allies say Huawei technology could be used to spy for China. Huawei has repeatedly denied this, and says the US is simply jealous of its success.
British ministers say Huawei’s rise to global dominance has caught the West off-guard.
The defence committee said it supported Mr Johnson’s decision to purge Huawei from the 5G network, but noted that “developments could necessitate this date being moved forward, potentially to 2025”.
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