British PM Boris Johnson said that opponents of Chinese tech company Huawei should suggest alternatives.
The comment comes as US officials arrived in Britain to push for Huawei’s 5G ban, as Johnson’s government prepares to decide on how to deploy Huawei equipment in its future 5G networks.
British media said the US delegation told British officials that using Huawei would be “madness”. Other countries however, already started launching the next-generation wireless networks.
“The British public deserve to have access to the best possible technology. Now, if people oppose one brand or another, then they have to tell us what’s the alternative, right?”, Johnson said in an interview.
In May, the US government added Huawei to its trade blacklist, amid concerns that its 5G equipment enables the Chinese government to spy on other nations. Huawei has rejected the allegations, saying it operates independently of the ruling party of China.
“I don’t want, as the UK prime minister, to put in any infrastructure that is going to prejudice our national security or our ability to cooperate with Five Eyes intelligence partners”, Johnson said, regarding the ‘five eyes’ intelligence partnership, which includes Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Huawei says it is confident the UK government will make its decision “based upon evidence, as opposed to unsubstantiated allegations”:
“Huawei have been here in the UK for more than 18 years and trust has been built with our customers and with the UK government through our openness and transparency”, said Victor Zhang, Huawei’s president for global government affairs.