Chinese envoy to the UK Liu Xiaoming has thrown his weight behind telecom giant Huawei, whose role in the build-up of Britain's future 5G network sparked a nationwide debate this week.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Liu Xiaoming called on the United Kingdom to resist external pressure (an apparent dig at Washington's attempts to restrain Huawei's advance in 5G) and make independent decisions in this regard.
"The last thing the world needs is the introduction of any sort of discriminatory measures towards companies involved in 5G network development", the ambassador wrote.
Though security risks should be taken seriously, he added, they should not be allowed to "incite fear".
Xiaoming touted the Chinese company's "good track record on security" and its contribution to the UK economy over the past years.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that the UK's National Security Council, which includes the prime minister, senior ministers and intelligence chiefs, had greenlighted Huawei's partial involvement in the creation of Britain's future 5G network. Several ministers have reportedly opposed the plans.
Members of the UK Parliament and the intelligence community have voiced their anger over the fact that details of secret discussions regarding national security have been leaked to the public. The government is said to have launched a leak inquiry, while cabinet ministers were reportedly asked to provide details of their mobile phones and hand them over to investigators.
Huawei, the world's biggest telecoms equipment supplier, has faced accusations of spying and stealing commercial information at the behest of the Chinese government — something it vehemently denies. US intelligence officials are also thought to believe that the company receives funding from Chinese military and intelligence agencies.
The United States, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia have banned Huawei from participating in government contracts, with Washington also lobbying its European allies to follow suit and introduce similar restrictions.