Britain should face retaliation over its decision to ban Huawei from its 5G networks, Chinese state-backed media urged, dubbing the move “ill-founded.”
On Tuesday, the U.K. said the country’s mobile network operators will not be allowed to buy new Huawei 5G gear after Dec. 31. And the carriers must also strip out existing Huawei 5G gear by the end of 2027.
The decision marked a U-turn by London after initially allowing Huawei to play a limited role in the U.K.’s next-generation mobile networks.
New U.S. sanctions in May, aimed at cutting off Huawei from chip supplies made using American software and equipment, prompted an emergency review by Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The organization said that “Huawei’s long term ability to build products using state-of-the-art technology has been severely affected.”
“The U.K. can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment,” the country’s digital minster Oliver Dowden said on Tuesday.
Huawei urged the government to reconsider the move, adding it was “confident” the new U.S. restrictions “would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply.”
And while U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.K.’s decision “advances Transatlantic security in the #5G era while protecting citizens’ privacy, national security, and free-world values,” Chinese state media urged retaliation.
“It’s necessary for China to retaliate against UK, otherwise wouldn’t we be too easy to bully? Such retaliation should be public and painful for the UK,” the Global Times wrote.
“But it’s unnecessary to turn it into a China-UK confrontation. The UK is not the US, nor Australia, nor Canada. It is a relative ‘weak link’ in the Five Eyes. In the long run, the UK has no reason to turn against China, with the Hong Kong issue fading out.”
The state-backed publication was referencing Britain’s criticisms of the new Hong Kong national security law that has stoked tensions between London and Beijing.
The Global Times did not outline what retaliation would entail.
Meanwhile, another state-backed publication, Xinhua, called the U.K.’s decision on Huawei “ill-founded” and said the move could negatively affect the investment environment in Britain.
“London’s reversal on Huawei will also cost Britain its credibility. As a global financial and trade center, as well as a favorable destination for overseas investments, it is in the country’s best interests to maintain a fair, open and indiscriminate market,” Xinhua wrote.