The US is reaching out to leaders in the UK to try and turn its ally against using Huawei technology in non-core parts of its 5G rollout. That's according to a recent report from the BBC, suggesting US delegates are once again presenting evidence in a bid to convince the UK that Huawei isn't safe.
Specifically, US Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger is reported to have met ministers in London on January 13. The delegate is said to have brought along a dossier for the meeting, containing technical information that runs contrary to British intelligence findings. The representatives have said that utilizing Huawei equipment would be tantamount to "madness."
President Donald Trump has also reached out in a bid to "pressure" British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the source reports.
Will pressure from the US work to sway the UK on Huawei?
United States officials have reportedly refused to comment on the meetings but at least some UK officials appear to be in agreement about the risks posed by Huawei. The country is, as yet, undecided on how it will proceed.
Conservative MP Bob Seely has spoken out to decry the company as being part of the Chinese state rather than an independent company. The MP has reached out to Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, requesting immediate and thorough investigations regarding Huawei. In particular, Mr. Seely is concerned about whether or not Huawei is suitable to build out any part of the UK 5G networking infrastructure.
The UK also runs a risk associated with international relations if a deal is struck with Huawei. Several bills within the US have been proposed that would cut intelligence-sharing ties with any nation utilizing Huawei equipment. That's going to be a tall order to fill since Huawei is among the largest suppliers of such equipment worldwide.
That's a position opposed by MI5 head Andrew Parker, who recently revealed he has no reason to believe that the relationship between the US and UK would change if Huawei technology were to be used.
Is Huawei safe?
Not all of Huawei's moves over the past year or more have worked to curry favor among its detractors. In some cases, employees of the company — if not the company itself — have been caught actively spying. But that hasn't been spying conducted at the bequest of its home country. Huawei has also been caught out conducting espionage of the corporate nature, rather than on an international scale involving governments.
However, the Chinese tech giant has repeatedly refuted claims that it works as part of the Chinese government. That's a sentiment that has been, at various times, backed by even US companies such as Google and Qualcomm.
In a statement released by the source, the company has said that it is a private company. Huawei also spoke to remind the UK that it has been supplying UK telecoms companies for 15 years. That's covered everything from 3G through 4G to broadband equipment. "British experts are clear our technology does not pose a security risk," the company says.