The UK Defence Ministry stated that there is "no risk" involved over UK-based Exception PCB, whose parent company is China's Shenzhen Fastprint, producing parts for the US fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets. However, Sky News cited defence experts, including former defence ministers, as expressing concern for the classified programme.
Dr Joseph Cheng, Professor of Political Science at the City University of Hong Kong, has commented on the UK media report about the F-35 in the wake of the row, surrounding Chinese tech giant Huawei and the US blacklisting.
Sputnik: Why do you think, this report has been revealed now, and the mass media are fueling speculation around the case, while the British MoD maintains that Exception PCB presents "no risk" to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter supply chain and is an established manufacturer of circuit boards to the defence industry?
Joseph Cheng: Given the context of Donald Trump's visit to the UK, and its intention to exert pressure on the British government on the Huawei issue, it is not surprising that such information has been leaked. It is generally believed that US authorities have been collecting such information to exert pressure on China.
Sputnik: Could the scandal make MoD change its supply chain system?
Joseph Cheng: The MoD is under pressure and has to respond. But Britain wants to maintain its independence and would like to bargain with China on a bilateral basis. It has its own give and take. There is the election of the Conservative Party leader going on now, so one has to wait for the new PM to decide.
Sputnik: How might the revelations impact the ongoing crisis related to Huawei 5G networks?
Joseph Cheng: The revelations show that this Sino-American competition for technological superiority is the gift of their competition for leadership in the next two or three decades. The US will continue to block China’s progress in high tech developments.
Sputnik: How do you assess the ongoing debate in the West concerning the safety of the Chinese technology?
Joseph Cheng: The West in general is increasingly concerned with China's high-tech progress and its violations of intellectual property rights. But they value China's importance as a trade partner. They are more interested in strengthening the rules-based system under the WTO, and they want to negotiate rather than adopting pressure tactics. They realise that the America First approach also aims against them.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.