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Ministry: UK expected to stay open, work with China

By Zhu Lingqing and Zhou Jin | | Updated: 2019-02-18 14:43
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Attendees pass by a Huawei booth during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, Jan 9, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday that China expects the United Kingdom will maintain its openness and work with China to bring more benefits to the people of the two countries.

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has concluded in an as yet unpublished finding that risks from using Huawei equipment in the country's future 5G networks are manageable, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The report, citing one person familiar with the issue, said the conclusion from the UK, a country that is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network, would "carry great weight" with other European leaders.

"Other nations can make the argument that if the British are confident of mitigation against national security threats, then they can also reassure their public and the US administration that they are acting in a prudent manner in continuing to allow their telecommunications service providers to use Chinese components as long as they take the kinds of precautions recommended by the British," the person said, according to the report.

In this handout image provided by Huawei, Georgia Toffolo takes a selfie in front of a giant AI-powered Rubiks Cube unveiled by London's South Bank to celebrate the launch of the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the worlds first dual-AI powered smartphone, Oct 25, 2018 in London, England. [Photo/VCG]

On Friday, Alex Younger, head of MI6, the UK agency that handles foreign intelligence and operations, said the country might take a more moderate stance on Huawei than the US, explaining the issue was too complex to simply ban the company, the report said.

It was "a more complicated issue than in or out" and countries had "a sovereign right to work through the answer to all of this", Younger said.

In addition, in a recent article for the Financial Times, Robert Hannigan, former head of the UK intelligence agency GCHQ, also said that NCSC had never found evidence of Chinese state cyberactivity through Huawei and it makes no sense to assert any Chinese technology in any part of a 5G network represents an unacceptable risk.

The Financial Times report, citing one person familiar with the issue, said the UK government is expected to release a review report on the country's telecom infrastructure in the spring to give suggestions on how to handle any threats generated by Huawei to 5G networks.

A diversity of suppliers and partial restrictions of areas of the 5G network might be suggested by the government, according to the person.

On Feb 13, Xu Zhijun, one of Huawei's three rotating chairmen, said in a media briefing at the company's Shenzhen headquarters that the United States is launching a "coordinated, tactical geopolitical campaign" against the Chinese company, China Daily previously reported.

Cybersecurity and 5G technologies are two different issues, Xu said, for Huawei's cooperation with governments and industry to promote the construction of cybersecurity standards is not inconsistent with researching and developing 5G technologies and providing them to the world, according to a report.

Xu added that Huawei would spend initial funds of more than $2 billion over the next five years to boost cybersecurity for its equipment and the future investment is temporarily immeasurable.

In January, Wang Yi, Chinese State councilor and foreign minister, said when visiting Europe that some countries' attempts to discredit and contain Chinese high-tech companies like Huawei by leveraging their state power are "unfair and immoral", according to a report by Xinhua.

Wang said every country has the right to safeguard information security, but it is wrong to damage or even stifle the legitimate operation of enterprises under the pretext of security.

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