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Huawei: UK 5G concerns ‘a witch-hunt’ says Chinese ambassador

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Huawei: UK 5G concerns 'a witch-hunt' says Chinese ambassador

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Media captionLiu Xiaoming: "I think what they are doing is a kind of witch hunt".

China's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming, says that conservative politicians who oppose Huawei playing a role in the UK's 5G network are conducting "a witch hunt".

Some senior conservatives wrote to conservative lawmakers to raise concerns about the government's decision to assign Huawei a role on the network.

The group, including four former cabinet ministers, wants "high-risk" suppliers to be dropped now or to be phased out over time.

But Liu told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show "they were totally wrong".

"I think what they are doing is a kind of witch hunt," he said. "Huawei is a privately owned company, nothing to do with the Chinese government … the only problem they have is that they are a Chinese company."

"Free market economy"

Several senior conservatives have warned that Huawei's involvement in the UK's next-generation mobile internet network poses a security risk and could lead to Commons' first significant rebellion against the Boris Johnson government.

But Liu said the company operates completely independently from the Chinese state and is a leader in the 5G field.

"The reason the Prime Minister [UK] decided to keep Huawei is that he has a very ambitious plan for the UK, he wants to have 5G coverage in the UK by 2025, and Huawei can help."

But he criticized the 35% limit that the government had placed on Huawei's involvement, saying it was not in line with the "free economy" principle.

And, when asked about President Trump being unhappy with the UK, he said, "I'm going to leave the Prime Minister to deal with President Trump."

Liu said: "The UK can only be great when it has independent foreign policy. I hope the Prime Minister will continue with the decision, because I think it is in the UK's interest and maintains Britain's image as the market economy. most open and free in the world. " the world."

& # 39; Best solution & # 39;

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that Huawei's decision followed a "rigorous" review by security experts and that the company's involvement would be restricted.

But senior conservatives said there were alternatives to the Chinese company.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith's letter, Owen Paterson, David Davis, Damian Green, Tobias Ellwood and Bob Seely, which was seen by the BBC, says some MPs were "working to find a better solution".

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"We are looking to identify a means by which we ensure that only reliable suppliers are allowed as primary contractors in our critical national infrastructure," says the document.

"Reliable suppliers would be companies from countries that have fair market competition, the rule of law, respect human rights, data privacy and non-coercive government agencies".

Signatories say they want the government to "discard high technology from unreliable, high-risk suppliers" in the UK's infrastructure, or ensure that future legislation includes "sunset clauses" to limit the time these companies can be used.

Military exclusion

The letter comes after US Vice President Mike Pence said the United States was "deeply disappointed" by the UK's decision.

Huawei: UK 5G concerns 'a witch-hunt' says Chinese ambassador

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How will the Huawei 5G agreement affect me?

The UK government said there would be restrictions on Huawei's role in the 5G network.

This includes: banning Huawei from providing kit to "sensitive parts" of the network, allowing it to represent only 35% of the kit on the network's periphery and excluding the company's equipment from areas close to military bases and nuclear facilities.

But Sir Iain and the others responsible for the letter also cited examples from other countries that they said had already rejected the use of Huawei on their 5G networks, including Australia, the United States and Japan.

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