Pompeo steps up warning to Britain over Huawei

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with British Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of their bilateral meeting in London on Wednesday. He warned that China posed a wide range of economic and security threats.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with British Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of their bilateral meeting in London on Wednesday. He warned that China posed a wide range of economic and security threats.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a blistering attack against China as he stepped up pressure on Britain, warning that American intelligence-sharing could be risked by the involvement of a Chinese company in a new British telecommunications network.

Speaking in London on Wednesday, Mr Pompeo said China posed such a range of economic and security threats that the world faced "a new kind of challenge, an authoritarian regime that's integrated economically into the West".

He said: "China steals intellectual property for military purposes. It wants to dominate AI (artificial intelligence), space technology, ballistic missiles."

British officials believe it is possible to give Huawei some access to non-core elements of its new 5G system while maintaining the security of more sensitive networks.

Discussions on that topic were the subject of a leak that last week prompted the firing of British defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, who had opposed working with the Chinese firm.

In a speech for the 40th anniversary of Mrs Margaret Thatcher's first election victory, Mr Pompeo asked whether the British leader would have allowed China "to control the Internet of the future". Mr Pompeo argued that Chinese law allowed the government to demand access to data flowing through Huawei systems.

"Insufficient security will impede the United States' ability to share certain information within trusted networks. This is just what China wants - to divide Western alliances," Mr Pompeo said.

CHALLENGE

Insufficient security will impede the United States' ability to share certain information within trusted networks. This is just what China wants - to divide Western alliances.

MR MIKE POMPEO, US Secretary of State, warning Britain against China.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday said Britain has a strong relationship with China but has expressed concerns about its "significant and widespread" cyber intrusion.

NYTIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2019, with the headline 'Pompeo steps up warning to Britain over Huawei'. Print Edition | Subscribe