The UK government will publish its telecoms supply chain review next week without including its decision on Huawei, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Friday.
London will also not make a decision on using Huawei to build its 5G networks until after a new prime minister is appointed, the sources added.
— Jack Stubbs (@jc_stubbs) July 19, 2019
Such important decisions on Huawei required “careful consideration,” Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said in a statement published on Friday, adding that the delay was causing "serious damage" the UK's international relations.
UK’s cybersecurity chiefs had clearly stated that national networks should be able to withstand any attack from inside and outside networks, as well as malicious actions or “simple human error”, the ISC said.
The best way to protect UK infrastructure was to diversify suppliers, the ISC said, noting that Britain’s 5G networks were only being managed by Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson and that “reducing over-dependence and increasing competition” would maintain high security standards.
Huawei vice president Victor Zhang said in a tweet on Friday that he agreed that “diversity improves resilience in networks” and that 5G was “the foundation of tomorrow’s digital and mobile economy”.
— HuaweiUK (@HuaweiUK) July 19, 2019
But the ISC stated that it needed to consider political concerns and would not do anything to jeopardise its alliance with its “Five Eyes” partners – The US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada – and that it hoped Beijing would understand that UK firms would be given similar treatment if playing a role in critical Chinese infrastructure.
“The public debate implies that we have to choose between good economic links with China and our own national security,” the statement read. “This is a simplistic viewpoint, and those promoting it do a disservice to China.”
While Huawei's Italy branch pledged on Wednesday to invest £3.1bn and bring 1,000 jobs to Rome, the UK has remained ambivalent on its future with the Chinese telecoms giant. A UK parliamentary enquiry on Monday said that there were no “technical grounds” for completely excluding Huawei from the UK’s 5G networks, but “geopolitical or ethical considerations” were being considered in London’s decision. The UK’s National Security Council, chaired by outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, also excluded Huawei from core IT infrastructure but plans to finalise its decision by late August. US president Donald Trump has also threatened to scupper trade talks with the UK if Huawei is allowed to work on key components for Britain’s future IT networks.