04:58 GMT26 February 2021
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    Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged Friday that the United Kingdom’s recent decision to grant Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei access to its 5G mobile networks threatens the prospects of trade talks between the US and UK.

    Pence told CNBC’s Wilfred Frost “we’ll see” when asked whether the decision by Boris Johnson’s government would threaten previously discussed free trade arrangements.

    “We are profoundly disappointed because look, when I went at the president’s direction in September, I met with Prime Minister Johnson and I told him the moment the U.K. was out of Brexit we were willing to begin to negotiate a free trade arrangement with the UK,” Pence said. “But we just don’t believe that utilizing the assets and technologies of Huawei is consistent with the security or privacy interests of the UK, of the United States and it remains a real issue between our two countries.”

    Pence said that the US made clear to Johnson that as the country is trying to build their own 5G network, they expect to “see our companies meet the needs in the United States and UK and among all our allies without the compromise of privacy and the compromise of security,” once again accusing Huawei of transmitting data to the Chinese government. Huawei has denied all allegations and China said that the US is more concerned with preventing competition as opposed to any sincere concerns over security.

    Earlier in January, a senior Trump administration official wrote that the US was disappointed by the UK’s decision to work with Huawei, adding that the White House will work “with the UK on a way forward that results in the exclusion of untrusted vendor components from 5G networks.”

    Several sources had earlier told the Financial Times that Trump was "apoplectic" over Johnson’s decision in a private phone call between the two world leaders. One individual who was reportedly familiar with the call's contents said that Trump expressed his views in livid terms and a second official confirmed that the conversation was “very difficult”.


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