The US is preparing to make a final move to change the UK's mind about allowing Chinese tech giant Huawei into its 5G networks as London is about to make its final decision on the matter, Reuters reported, citing various sources.
One of these sources said that the US was planning to send Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger to the UK to discuss the matter of not allowing Huawei in British networks, but the trip was scrapped "due to bad weather".
Another source claimed that the UK sees the US as "cocking the pistol" in regards to the Huawei issue and possible defiance from London of Washington's recommendations in that regard.
"What’s unclear is how, when or indeed if [this pistol] will actually be fired", the source told Reuters.
At the same time, US lawmakers have been taking measures to force the government to go through with its threats to cut intelligence sharing with countries that use Huawei equipment, such as members of the Five Eyes alliance – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.
A provision to ensure this was added to the now approved 2020 US defence spending bill by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, which, according to Reuters' sources, was just "a first shot across the bow". An aide to Cotton told the news agency that more restrictions relating to such countries in a future bill was being prepared by the senator's team.
While London will issue its verdict to Huawei later in January 2020, a spokesman for the telecom giant said that the company's equipment would be off-limits to networks used in intelligence sharing. A British government spokesperson, in turn, noted that London puts national security at the forefront of the issue, although UK companies have warned that excluding Huawei could significantly raise the costs of building 5G networks.
"The security and resilience of the UK’s telecoms networks is of paramount importance. The government continues to consider its position on high-risk vendors and a decision will be made in due course", the government spokesperson said.
The US has been trying to convince its allies across the globe to deny Huawei access to their 5G market since May, citing backdoors that the company allegedly installs in its products to enable Beijing to spy. So far, most countries have rejected Washington's persistent demands to ban Huawei from their networks.
Both the company and the Chinese government have vehemently denied the US accusations, with Huawei vowing to file a lawsuit against Washington's actions.