UK Security Minister Ben Wallace stated on Tuesday that Britain has not made a final decision on whether to use technology from Huawei in its 5G network.
“The government hasn't yet reached a conclusion on how to deal with infrastructure that is potentially weak or indeed could be exploited by foreign states to spy on us, that is ongoing,” he told BBC Radio.
“We listen to our allies in the Five Eyes, we listen to our European partners. If we want to allow people access to our markets we have to say that there are rules.”
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday that Britain takes careful notice of what the United States says regarding the implicit dangers of granting Huawei access to 5G networks.
“We take careful notice of everything the US says on these issues,” Hunt told BBC radio.
“We haven't made our final decision but we have also made it clear that we are considering both the technical issues — how you make sure there isn't a backdoor so that a third country could use 5G to spy on us — but also the strategic issues, so that you make sure that you are not technologically over-dependent on a third country for absolutely vital technology,” Hunt said.
US President Donald Trump is in the UK this week and is expected to impress upon the government the importance of keeping Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. out of the country’s 5G telecoms infrastructure.
Theresa May’s government has been debating Huawei’s role for months.
The prime minister sacked Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson last month, accusing him of having leaked details of Cabinet discussions on the issue.
Now that May is about to hand over the reins of power, candidates to succeed her are also speaking out about the issue.
Sunday saw Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt hinting they wanted to block the Chinese company.
“I would not want any company, whichever country it’s from, that has a high degree of control by a foreign government to have access to our very sensitive telecommunications network,” Javid told the BBC.
The foreign secretary argued it was a strategic question about China:
“They’ve said they want to have an 80% market share of telecoms technology and in other areas like artificial intelligence, they want a 90% market share by 2025,” he said.
“And we have to ask, as Western countries, whether it’s wise to allow one country to have such a commanding monopoly in the technologies that we’re, all of us, going to be depending on.”
The developments come amid an ongoing US crackdown on the Chinese tech giant.
The United States has barred Huawei's equipment from the country and banned the transfer of technologies and software to it by US companies. Some foreign firms have followed suit, severing ties with Huawei.
Washington has also pressured its European allies to deny the Chinese tech giant access to the construction of 5G networks, threatening to limit intelligence sharing efforts otherwise.
The US claims the company cooperates with the government, installing backdoors in its equipment for Beijing's espionage and cyberattacks – allegations that have been emphatically denied by both the Chinese government and the tech firm.