British Prime Minister Theresa May is being urged by members of her own party and senior intelligence officials to reverse a provisional decision to allow the Chinese technology giant Huawei a role in building parts of Britain's 5G mobile network.
They fear giving Huawei even a limited role in developing the country's fifth-generation wireless network risks imperiling Britain's participation in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing arrangement, the U.S.-led Anglophone intelligence pact linking Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain.
The lobbying for a reversal of the decision is likely to intensify following the publication this week of a report co-authored by a Conservative lawmaker and a former British security adviser that argues, despite Beijing denials, that Huawei is ultimately owned by an entity answerable to the Chinese party-state apparatus.
The report by the London-based Henry Jackson Society says allowing the company access to Britain's next-generation mobile-phone network would compromise security. According to the report, Huawei is 99% owned by the Huawei Investment and Holding Trade Union Committee, part of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, a state body.
Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have urged all Western allies to shun Huawei on security grounds, fearing the Chinese telecoms giant will act as a Trojan horse for China's espionage agencies, allowing them to sweep up data and gather intelligence.
In February, Pompeo warned, If a country adopts this [Huawei] and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won't be able to share information with them, we won't be able to work alongside them. A U.S. State Department has been sent from Washington to brief British ministers on Monday in more detail about US security concerns.
Last week, it emerged from leaks that Prime Minister May had decided during a meeting of the country's National Security Council to allow Huawei to build some so-called non-core parts of Britain's 5G data network. Her decision came despite the disapproval of some intelligence chiefs and the country's defense and foreign secretaries, Gavin Williamson and Jeremy Hunt, who both fear serious impact on Anglo-American relations.