Further to the post immediately below and two recent stories,
MUNICH ― U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed President Donald Trump’s warning to European allies that letting Chinese telecom giant Huawei build their next-generation communication network, or 5G, poses a grave threat ― a rare note of bipartisan harmony after a divisive impeachment…
the Trump administration now seems to be adding to the usual confusion about what some of its policies actually are:
Munich (CNN) – The Trump administration will not change its intelligence sharing policy with the United Kingdom despite contentious disagreements over the UK’s recent decision to rely on China’s Huawei to help build its next generation of super-fast wireless networks, senior administration officials said Friday [Feb. 14].
Robert Blair, a top adviser to President Donald Trump who was recently named special representative for international telecommunications policy, said the United Kingdom would have to take a “hard look” at its decision to use Huawei equipment, but asserted that “there will be no erosion in our overall intelligence sharing.”
The Trump administration had been pressing for a total ban on Huawei products, alleging that Beijing could use the equipment for snooping. It had warned that US-UK intelligence sharing could be put at risk.
Last month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opted to go ahead with plans to let the Chinese company develop Britain’s 5G network as part of his agenda of “leveling up” regions across the country through improved infrastructure.
Trump “tore into” Johnson in a phone call after the announcement was made, according to a person familiar with the call.
Following the UK decision, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US would have a conversation with the UK “about how to proceed” after its decision. He noted that the US needed to evaluate what the UK’s decision on 5G actually means.
“It’s a little unclear precisely what they’re going to permit and not permit so we need to take a little bit of time to evaluate that,” Pompeo said in January. “But our view is we should have western systems with western rules and American information should only pass across a trusted network. We’ll make sure we do that.”
The UK argues that there is currently no alternative to Huawei and so it’s forced to rely on the Chinese company until there is a compatible western technology.
5G allows greater and faster data processing and is seen as an integral component of new interconnected technologies such as automated vehicles and smart appliances.
Blair said he “vehemently” disagrees with the argument, saying that “there are alternatives — and qualified and capable alternatives.” He named Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia as possible industry leaders in this emerging technology.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Blair, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy Robert Strayer said that the US is looking to develop a partnership with the telecoms industry to provide alternatives to China’s Huawei Technologies…
It’s not just the UK that has been grappling with the issue. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been reluctant to exclude specific providers from the country’s 5G networks. Her political party has backed a strategy paper that could potentially curtail Huawei’s involvement in Germany’s 5G rollout by barring “untrustworthy” companies deemed to be subject to state influence from the process, without issuing a fun ban…
Will the US be tougher on intelligence sharing with Canada, given the close intertwining of our networks, the power imbalance in the Americans’ favour, and the much greater benefit we get from the sharing than they do? Interesting times ahead.