Britain will side with US over Huawei, ex-PM Blair says, as China's tech giant set to build research facility in England

British officials are currently reviewing how best to securely deploy Huawei equipment. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain will ultimately have to side with the United States when it comes to a decision on allowing China's Huawei Technologies a role in its 5G network, former prime minister Tony Blair said on Thursday (June 25).

British officials are currently reviewing how best to securely deploy Huawei equipment in the country's 5G networks, after granting the Chinese firm a limited role in January.

Asked about Huawei at a Reuters Newsmaker event, Mr Blair said:"I think we do need to make a call and I think it has got to be pro-US in the end."

Mr Blair said that one of the issues was that Huawei infrastructure was a lot cheaper than alternatives.

"One of the extraordinary things about 5G is that the West has in a way just allowed this advantage, this superiority to be gained," Mr Blair said. "It is very hard for us not to be with the US on anything that touches US security."

China's Huawei Technologies earlier said on Thursday that it had received planning permission to build a 1 billion pound (S$1.73 billion) research and development facility in England.

The facility will employ around 400 people and focus on the production of optical devices for use in fibre optic communication systems, the company said in a statement.

"The UK is home to a vibrant and open market, as well as some of the best talent the world has to offer," said Huawei vice-president Victor Zhang.

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