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It is the latest shot in growing tensions between the UK and China, which has flared in recent weeks due to the UK’s u-turn on Huawei’s access to Britain’s 5G networks. It also comes after Beijing’s proposed security laws on Hing Kong enraged Downing Street.
The Times reported that Liu Xiaoming, China’s UK ambassador, warned that banning Huawei would undermine infrastructure projects China collaborates with the UK on.
The include the HS2 high-speed rail network, and plans to build nuclear power plants.
Liu reportedly told a private group of business leaders that the UK’s pending decision on Huawei’s involvement was “a litmus test of whether Britain is a true and faithful partner of China.”
British officials have appeared to have dismissed Liu’s comments as “saber rattling”.
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It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reversed his governments decision to allow Huawei to have access to Britains telecoms network.
In January, Boris Johnson passed a motion allowing Huawei access to 35 percent of Britain’s future 5G network.
Last month, the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), part of intelligence agency GCHQ, launched an emergency review of Huawei’s 5G role.
Prime Minister Johnson has also instructed officials to draw up plans to reduce China’s involvement in the UK’s infrastructure to zero by 2023.
In response to the UK’s scepticism of the company, Huawei has undertaken a massive media campaign, buying advertisements in several newspapers.
Huawei says in the ad: “For nearly 20 years, we’ve supplied the UK’s mobile and broadband companies with 3G and 4G.
“But some now question our role in helping Britain lead the way in 5G.”
It added that it was “as committed as ever to providing your network operator with the best equipment,” also saying it was working to bring “high-speed connections to every part of the country”.
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It is the latest shot from China to the UK, after Beijing also threatened Downing Street following their commitment to Hong Kong British nationals.
The Home Office implied that millions of Hong Kong nationals may be able to apply for UK citizenships if China presses ahead with their new security law.
Chen Wen, a senior diplomat at the Chinese embassy in the UK, said the UK’s decisions would have “consequences“, saying changes to the British National (Overseas) status of Hong Kong citizens would be a breach of UK commitments made when the territory was handed over in 1997.
When asked what the consequences would be, she said: “Let’s wait and see.
“There will be consequences – that’s for sure.”
US President Donald Trump has also been pressuring the UK into banning Huawei.
Last week, Senator Tom Cotton (R – Ark.) told the British Parliament’s defense committee that China was using Huawei to “drive a hi-tech wedge” in the UK and US’s “Last week,
Senator Tom Cotton (R – Ark.) told the British Parliament’s defense committee that China was using Huawei to “drive a hi-tech wedge” in the U.K.-U.S. “special relationship.”
The US has previously levied sanctions against Huawei in 2019, and this year saw new restrictions on semiconductor manufacturers from working with the Chinese telecoms business.
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