The United Kingdom has reportedly decided to end the involvement of Chinese tech giant Huawei in building the nation’s 5G network. According to sources, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was motivated take the measures against China after many countries in the international community criticized the Middle Kingdom’s lack of transparency over the coronavirus crisis.
Though the Chinese telecommunications giant was originally set to build 35 percent of the United Kingdom’s 5G phone network, Johnson has told aides he wants to reduce that number to zero, per The Telegraph.
The change in position comes amid accusations that China had covered up information related to the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in the city of Wuhan late last year.
According to a bombshell report conducted by the “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, China allegedly destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak and silenced numerous journalists and doctors who had attempted to sound the alarm.
Reports have also suggested that Johnson is hoping to receive support over his decision from U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump had been a vocal critic of Huawei, and he himself had extended a U.S. ban on the company just over a week ago (per Tech Crunch).
Johnson is scheduled to visit the United States for the G7 summit next month. It will be the prime minister’s first trip abroad since he himself battled a severe case of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang has already responded to the rumors with a statement that slammed any plans to phase out the tech giant, saying they “don’t make sense.”
“As a private company, 100% owned by employees, which has operated in the UK for 20 years, our priority has been to help mobile and broadband companies keep Britain connected, which in this current health crisis has been more vital than ever. This is our proven track-record,” Zhang wrote in a statement, via Politico.
This is not the first time that Huawei has been attached to a diplomatic scuffle. Earlier this year, Germany was very close to banning the company altogether, leading to a harsh warning from the Chinese to the Teutonic nation.
“If Germany were to take a decision that leads to Huawei’s exclusion from the German market, there will be consequences,” Ambassador Wu Ken said, as was previously covered by The Inquisitr.
Germany ended up placing severe restrictions on the telecommunications giant, though the Bundestag stopped short of banning it completely.