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Trump reportedly will threaten to curb intelligence sharing with UK over Huawei

Key Points
  • U.S. President Donald Trump plans to tell the British government that Washington may limit intelligence sharing with the U.K. if it continues to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to build part of its 5G mobile network, the Financial Times reported.
  • According to American and British officials, Trump decided to raise the issue about the Chinese tech giant after his aides had failed to convince the U.K. government to restrict Huawei's involvement, the FT said.
  • Trump is set to embark on a three-day state visit to the U.K. in June, days before British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to resign from her post.
President Donald Trump applauds while delivering the commencement address at the U.S. Air Force Academy's graduation ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., May 30, 2019.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to tell the British government in person that Washington may limit intelligence sharing with the U.K. if it allows Huawei to build part of its 5G high-speed mobile network, the Financial Times reported.

Trump is set to embark on a three-day state visit to the U.K. in June, days before British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to resign from her post.

According to American and British officials, Trump decided to raise the issue about Huawei after his aides had repeatedly failed to convince the U.K. government to restrict the involvement of the Chinese company, the newspaper said.

A person involved in planning the trip told the FT that Trump was ready to make his objections known both in public and in private: "The president is preparing to repeat the message that Chinese involvement in 5G could pose significant challenges for US-UK intelligence co-operation."

The White House did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment sent outside regular office hours.

Last month, reports said the British government will allow Huawei to build out parts of its 5G wireless networks, which would defy U.S. demands for a blanket ban on the Chinese tech giant's involvement in the latest digital infrastructure technology. 5G is set to bring faster internet speeds and lower lag times — it has tremendous potential to change the way people interact with new technologies.

Britain's National Security Council was said to have agreed to let Huawei provide "non-core" technology, like antennas, to the country's mobile operators for the next-generation networks. The U.K., however, will not allow the Chinese firm to provide so-called "core" technology that includes software and other equipment linking primary internet connections, according to reports.

Still, White House national security advisor John Bolton said on Thursday that the U.K. may not have made a final decision on Huawei yet, Reuters reported.

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Huawei has faced tremendous pressure from the Trump administration as the U.S. claims the company's equipment could be used for espionage by the Chinese government. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce said it was adding Huawei and its affiliates to a trade list that prohibits American companies from selling or transferring technology to the Chinese firm without a government-issued license.

Huawei is also facing criminal charges from the Justice Department after being accused of stealing trade secrets and skirting U.S. sanctions on Iran.

For its part, the Chinese tech giant has denied the allegations that it poses a security risk. At the same time, the company is suing the U.S. over a law that bans American government agencies from buying Huawei's equipment.

The U.S. has repeatedly urged allies to exclude Huawei from their 5G networks and so far, major countries like Japan and Australia have blocked the company's equipment from being used.

For more on Trump's plans, see the report from the Financial Times.

— CNBC's Elizabeth Schulze contributed to this report.