Donald Trump takes credit for Boris Johnson’s u-turn over Huawei
PUBLISHED: 10:07 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:23 15 July 2020
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Donald Trump has appeared to take credit for having “convinced many countries” including the UK not to use Huawei after Boris Johnson ordered a ban on the Chinese firm with the country’s 5G network.
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In a major U-turn provoking criticism from China, the prime minister ordered telecoms firms to remove Huawei equipment from the 5G network by 2027, with backbench Tories taking credit for the change of view.
But Trump said, “I did this myself, for the most part”, as he spoke of having worked to pressure nations to not use Huawei, adding: “If they want to do business with us, they can’t use it.”
The move, costing billions and delaying the deployment of 5G by up to three years, came after a government-ordered review found the security of Huawei’s equipment could not be guaranteed because of US sanctions.
Trump boasted in a press conference that no White House “has been tougher on China” than his administration, which the UK is trying to broker a post-Brexit trade deal with.
“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. It’s a big security risk,” he said.
“I talked many countries out of using it. If they want to do business with us, they can’t use it.
“Just today, I believe that 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.”
While the government’s move pleasedMr Trump, who is facing a fight for re-election, it angered Beijing.
China’s ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming tweeted: “Disappointing and wrong decision by the UK on Huawei.
“It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock acknowledged the US sanctions played a role in the ban and said trade discussions were also an important consideration, but insisted it was “a sensible decision”.
“We all know Donald Trump, don’t we?” he told Sky News.
“All sorts of people can try to claim credit for the decision, but this was based on a technical assessment by the National Cyber Security Centre about how we can have the highest quality 5G systems in the future.
“We are looking for a good US trade deal and working very closely on that, I think that’s a very important consideration.”
The ban, ordered after a National Security Council meeting chaired by the PM, led to concerns being raised in the Commons about the possibility of retaliation from Beijing.
Huawei, which denies being a security threat, said decisions on its future in the UK had become politicised and urged ministers to reconsider the move.
UK spokesman Ed Brewster said the “disappointing decision” is “bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone”.
“We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK,” he said.
“Regrettably, our future in the UK has become politicised - this is about US trade policy and not security.”
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