US, UK officials meet as PM Johnson’s Huawei decision nears

FILE – In this Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019 file photo, attendees walk past a display for 5G services from Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing. Norway’s biggest wireless carrier, Telenor, on Friday Dec. 13, 2019, chose Sweden’s Ericsson to supply part of its new 5G network, ending its cooperation with Chinese tech giant Huawei after a decade. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

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LONDON (AP) — British and American officials are meeting as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government prepares to decide on whether there’s a future for Chinese equipment maker Huawei in the country’s next-generation telecom networks, his spokesman said Monday.

U.S. officials responsible for national security and telecommunications were meeting their counterparts in Britain, James Slack told reporters.

“The security and resilience of the U.K.’s telecoms network is of paramount importance,” Slack told reporters. “We have strict controls for how Huawei equipment is currently deployed in the U.K. The government is undertaking a comprehensive review to ensure the security and resilience of 5G and fiber in the U.K.”

Slack said the government is “continuing to look at the security of the 5G network” and will inform Parliament once a decision is made.

The U.S. government has been lobbying European allies for the past year to exclude Huawei from new ultra-fast 5G mobile networks, over worries that China’s communist rulers could compel the company to help with cyberespionage. The U.S. has warned that it would have to reconsider intelligence sharing with any countries that use Huawei gear. The company has repeatedly denied the allegations.

U.K. security minister Brandon Lewis told the BBC on Sunday the government would make a decision on Huawei “relatively soon.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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