China challenges Britain over Huawei ban after reports intelligence services found no security threat




China has challenged the UK to justify its ban on Huawei Technologies amid claims British intelligence had "planted people" in the Chinese telecoms giant and concluded there was no national security threat.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that he wanted to "listen to what the UK has to say" about the claims, made by a former Singaporean diplomat at a forum last year.

Espionage trial kicks off for ex-Huawei employee and Polish agent

"Some people in the UK had bowed to a certain country out of political interest, falling into the whirlpool of 'pan-securitisation' and suppressing certain Chinese enterprises," Zhao said.

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The United States has banned Huawei over national security and urged its allies to follow suit.

Zhao was responding to a question about the comments made by Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore's former representative to the United Nations, who said he had been told by a "very distinguished British citizen" that the UK had been investigating Huawei.

A clip from the speech, taken at a forum hosted by the German think tank the Konrad Adeneur Siftung in November last year, was published on the social media accounts of China's state broadcaster CCTV on Saturday.

Mahbubani said that in January 2020 he was told: "We have planted our people in Huawei. We have scrubbed everything. Huawei is not a threat to us."

 

Kishore Mahbuban said an unnamed Briton has told him the UK had concluded Huawei was no threat. Photo: Handout alt=Kishore Mahbuban said an unnamed Briton has told him the UK had concluded Huawei was no threat. Photo: Handout>

Mahbubani, who is now a distinguished fellow at the National University of Singapore's Asia Research Institute, has previously described the decision to put Huawei on the US entity list as a "geopolitical decision".

Last week, former British business secretary Vince Cable said the British ban on Huawei "had nothing to do with national security", and was made "because the Americans told us we should do it", according to Brussels-based platform Euractiv.

Cable, a Liberal Democrat who served in the coalition government under David Cameron, said that during his time in office the British intelligence and security services gave repeated assurances that there was no risk from using Huawei services.

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The British government banned installation of new Huawei equipment as of September last year and will remove it from the country's 5G network completely by 2027. Washington has been urging its allies to shun the company since 2018, accusing it of being a security threat - accusations both Beijing and the telecoms giant have denied.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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