China has a warning for the UK: drop Huawei, and there will be trouble.
The country’s ambassador to London made the not-so veiled threat on Monday (July 6):
"So we want to be your friend, we want to be your partner, but if you want to make China a hostile country you have to bear the consequences.”
Liu Xiaoming spoke amid hints that the UK might, after all, ban Huawei from working on its next-generation 5G phone networks.
Earlier London had said the Chinese firm could be involved in non-core parts of the network.
But last week saw UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson say he didn’t want critical infrastructure controlled by ‘potentially hostile state vendors’.
That after the U.S. tightened sanctions on Huawei, and ramped up pressure on allies to shun it.
It all leaves London with a tough choice: whether to anger Washington, or Beijing.
The Chinese ambassador turned it into a test of post-Brexit Britain:
"But when you get rid of Huawei it sends out a very wrong message. It punishes the British image as a free business, free trade country.”
The tussle over Huawei has become a battle of wills between the U.S. and China.
On Monday one UK minister said a review of its policy was under way, with results to be announced to parliament.
Boris Johnson has a very tough choice to make.