U.S. officials to visit Britain to push for Huawei 5G ban

LONDON (Reuters) – A delegation of U.S. officials will arrive in Britain on Monday to try to convince Britain not to use Huawei equipment in the upgrade of its telecoms network.

Later this month, Britain is expected to make a final call on how to deploy Huawei Technologies equipment in its future 5G networks. A decision would be taken “relatively soon”, Security minister Brandon Lewis told the BBC on Sunday. The delegation is expected to include Matt Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

UK ministers must weigh U.S.-made allegations that the equipment could be used for Chinese state spying against the relationship between Britain and Beijing and industry warnings that banning the firm outright would cost billions of dollars.

Huawei, the world’s largest maker of mobile networking equipment, has time and again denied that its equipment could be used for spying. A company spokesman has previously said UK lawmakers had confirmed Huawei equipment would not be deployed in networks used for intelligence sharing.

One U.S. senator has introduced a bill that would prevent the United States from sharing intelligence with countries that allow Huawei Technologies to operate 5G network technology.

When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab last week, Pompeo had been expected to press Raab over Huawei.

Ben Wallace, British defence minister, told the Sunday Times that U.S. President Donald Trump and his advisers have threatened to cut off some intelligence to the UK if the National Security Council gives Huawei a green light.

“It’s not a secret. They have been consistent. Those things will be taken into account when the government collectively decides to make a decision on it,” Wallace said.

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