US Blackmail to Cost Britain a 2 Year Delay in Setting Up 5G Network

London is weary of working with a heavily US-sanctioned company -- but the UK losses as much if not more as Huawei

So now we know. Boris Johnson has banned China’s Huawei involvement in Britain’s 5G telecommunications network. Previously, Johnson had limited its involvement to 35 per cent of ‘non-core’ parts of the network. Now he has decreed that Huawei will not be able to sell 5G products and services into Britain from 1 January 2021. Worse, all its 5G work to date will be stripped out by 2027 – sooner, if the China Research Group, a faction on the right of the Conservative Party, has its way.

It’s quite a big decision. Because of Huawei’s lead in 5G, it will cost the UK an extra £2 billion, as well as a two-year delay to the establishment of the 5G network. And building up 5G fast had previously been an important part of the Tories’ rhetoric of ‘levelling up’ infrastructure and living standards for all parts of the country.

Why the apparent u-turn? In the conventional narrative, China has changed and so has President Trump. China’s conduct over Covid-19, takeover of Hong Kong, repression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, suppression of the birth rate there, and antics in the East and South China Seas – all these vividly confirm that Beijing has crossed a line. Indeed, the argument is growing that the UK must take firm action not just against Huawei, but also against another firm closely linked to the Chinese government, China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). It co-owns a British nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C, Somerset and another at Sizewell C, Suffolk.

Meanwhile, Trump’s toughening of sanctions against Huawei earlier this year was, a government spokesman announced on Tuesday, a ‘game-changer’ in terms of the continued security of the firm’s 5G installations in the UK. Put that together with Chinese domestic and foreign policy, and Boris had to kick out Huawei — or so the story goes.

But wait a minute. The Chinese Communist Party has been repressing Uighurs for years, but in 2015 that didn’t stop Conservative chancellor George Osborne from announcing a ‘golden decade’ of Sino-British relations. Now it may send its spanking new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, off to face down China – but how, exactly, will its 36 F-35 fighter jets help demonstrators in Kowloon?

The outburst of Tory moralism about the disgraceful conduct of ‘China’ – actually, of the Chinese Communist Party, for there’s a difference – is largely a case of finding a tub to thump in the time of Covid confusion. The more interesting aspect of the new decision surrounds the pressure put upon the UK by the US.

Trump’s May 2019 sanctions meant that Huawei would no longer be able to design and simulate its vital semiconductors using US technologies, which are the dominant tools in chip manufacture. But the further tightening of these sanctions in May 2020 had still wider implications. Not just Huawei, but all of its global suppliers, and even the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), Banbury, Oxfordshire, which is directed by the UK government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), were hit. None could now even send or receive Huawei components, or essential information about them, anywhere in the world, if those components relied on US design tools – which most of them do.

As an NCSC summary of the May 2020 sanctions laconically observed, they showed:

‘[A] further hardening of the US position towards Huawei, setting an even clearer intent. Should this US action be ineffective, in particular if Huawei were to find a workaround, it is likely that the US government would continue to modify its approach until it had successfully had its desired effect on the company.’

That’s true. Yet if the new US sanctions against Huawei were draconian, they were not far off that standard in relation to Britain.

NCSC technical director Dr Ian Levy suggests that Huawei’s ‘long-term ability to build products using state-of-the-art technology’ has been ‘severely affected’ by the US sanctions. Perhaps – but that’s hard to reconcile with NCSC talk of Huawei perhaps being able to find a home-grown ‘workaround’ to substitute for US chip design tools.

More importantly, Levy’s discussion on Washington’s measures makes clear that, once Huawei is forced to eschew these tools, the ‘supply, security and resilience’ of its kit will be ‘very uncertain for the next few years’ because of the ‘massive engineering challenge’ of doing chip design without US technology. He adds that it will be much harder to ‘get the same level of information and confidence’ for new Huawei products made the Huawei way, and that each will ‘take much more effort to analyse… [the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre] won’t be able to look at as many products in the same depth as it does today’.

We see here that the issue for the National Cyber Security Centre is not so much the proven fact of evil Chinese state hacking of UK 5G – aka ‘security’ – as technical supply, resilience and reliability on the part of Huawei, as well as uncertainty, lack of confidence and, er, a heavy workload on the part of Britain’s HCSEC. And we can see that the US sanctions effectively deny Britain’s right even to test Huawei equipment, let alone use it to make 5G a reality.

It is a striking feature of British Sinophobia today that Trump’s sanctions against Britain, a third party in this dispute, do not prompt the hackneyed Labour charge that Boris Johnson and the Tories are just The Donald’s ‘poodle’ and all that. Who, then, will stand up for a cold-eyed policy of UK independence from both Beijing’s potential hacks and Washington’s real blackmail?

On the face of it, Labour’s most balanced head, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy. Commenting on Johnson’s latest decision, she has rightly warned that the UK must not ‘hand over our national security to China or to the US’. Credit where it is due. But earlier this month the same Lisa Nandy revealed a particular hostility to the influence Chinese firms – not American ones – might gain in key British industries. That assertive position, one commentator observed, was now one which, UK opinion polls suggest, ‘is in tune with much of the country’.

Maybe. But marvel at how Labour’s old opportunism blends with its more contemporary preference for culture wars over hard economic realities. As long as it can strike a pose more high-minded and hateful of Beijing than the venal Tories, Labour will elect to do just that. As for the rest of us, we’ll have to wait still more years to get what South Korea already has – a population already 90 per cent covered for 5G.

Source: Spiked

  1. Vish says

    Here’s a box of tissue for this whiny British Pity Party.

    America is going to f*ck over the British big-time as part of its global hybrid war against China.

    Just as America has f*cked over Europe big-time as part of its global hybrid war against Russia.

    And in both cases, the British and Europe will have no one to blame but themselves.

    The Anglo American propaganda pretexts against China alleging cyber-hacking, Hong Kong (another American regime change op), or the Uighur Muslims are laughably Orwellian.

    This is from the same America and Britain who are engaged in massive cyberwar and spying on a planetary scale in the form of National Security Agency/Five Eyes Echelon cyber surveillance (remember Edward Snowden’s revelations); state repression (as evidenced by the anti-police brutality protests in the USA); and most importantly waging global wars of aggression based on lies, which have murdered millions of people in Muslim nations like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or Syria.

    Yet the delusional cunts are working up themselves up into a moral lather over China?

    The British and Americans are truly fundamentalist nations with delusions of their own Moral Exceptionalism–no matter how many nations that they rape, colonize, or bomb back to the Stone Age.

    Psychological Projection of your own crimes is clearly an essential feature of the Anglo American national character.

  2. Aurum Cimex says

    Two more years before the control grid is complete. A reprieve for the people I’d say.

  3. Mark says

    The US has become an instant-gratification country which cannot think beyond lunchtime. The eventual result of this simpleminded policy will be a chipmaking industry which is dominated by China but is well outside US control, and likely patronized by the very allies the USA today rudely shoves away from using. European leaders who can be bossed around by Washington won’t be around forever, and it is no longer in anyone’s interests to have trade deals which make one dependent on American products. We have been shown over and over that the USA will not hesitate to use trade dependencies as leverage to force political concessions which leave allies even more bound to America and its whims and caprices. And far from getting more reliable and stable, American leaders are getting increasingly eccentric and incompetent.

  4. nick1111 says

    Johnson is an idiot and so is Trump

  5. Ron Ronery says

    I’m getting used to reading journalism which reports “truth/fact” along with” established propaganda lies”. In this article, the sentence, “China’s conduct over Covid-19, takeover of Hong Kong, repression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, suppression of the birth rate there” are established “propaganda lies”. Hong Kong has always been a part of China. China was looking down a barrel of a gun when it was forced to lease Hong Kong to the British for 99 years; lease ended in 1997. The repression of Uyghurs is based on continued propaganda:
    As for birth rates, if anything, the Han Chinese were under a 1 child policy for over 30 years. The Uyghurs or any other minority were NOT required to follow the 1 child policy program. Just some facts you will never find in mainstream.

  6. Mary E says

    The US has to ‘protect’ itself from the advanced technology of the Chinese (namely 5G networks) because the Americans have lagged behind in ALL technology and they just can’t have the Chinese using some US products to jump ahead so far as to make it impossible for the US to catch up…and so far, they aren’t! Americans can’t stand to be less than 1st – but they had better get used to it…it is happening in more than just the tech sector!

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