Europe Politics

UK defense think tank warns that allowing Huawei into 5G network is 'irresponsible'

Key Points
  • The Royal United Services Institute says allowing Chinese telecommunications equipment provider Huawei to participate in Britian's 5G network is "naive" and "irresponsible."
  • It comes as the United States ups its pressure on Britain and other countries to shun Huawei's network equipment over espionage and security concerns.

A British defense and security think tank has warned that it would be "naive" and "irresponsible" to let Chinese telecommunications company Huawei supply equipment for the U.K's ultra-high speed 5G mobile networks.

Huawei, the world's largest producer of telecoms equipment, has been under the spotlight over allegations that the Chinese government could use its equipment for spying.

The United States has urged its allies to boycott Huawei technology over the alleged security threats that might compromise foreign communications networks. But the Shenzhen-based company and the Chinese government say those concerns are unfounded.

"Allowing Huawei's participation is at best naive, at worst irresponsible," according to a report by the Royal United Services Institute. The Financial Times first reported on the story on Wednesday.

"The history of China's cyber attacks shows that an integral part of [Chinese state] interference abroad is getting access to a wide variety of information, whether related to industry, commerce, technology, defence, personal details or politics," according to the report's author, Charles Parton, a former British diplomat and China expert.

On Sunday, the National Cyber Security Centre, a British government agency, concluded that such security risks can be reduced, according to the FT.

The United States has pressured countries like Britain and Germany to stop using Huawei equipment in their domestic infrastructure over security concerns.

While countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan, have excluded the Chinese telco from supplying components for their 5G networks, the German interior ministry told CNBC it is not ready to ban the company as "a direct exclusion of a particular 5G manufacturer is currently not legally possible and not planned."