Britain has taken a risk by allowing Huawei to have a role in its 5G network, but London and Washington will be able to “resolve” their differences over the controversial decision, the US secretary of state has said.
Mike Pompeo delivered the olive branch ahead of talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Downing Street.
Mr Johnson’s decision to include the Chinese telecoms firm in non-core parts of Britain’s 5G network was made despite warnings from the US that it could imperil security co-operation between the two nations.
Opponents of the move are against it because of Huawei’s close links to the Chinese government.
They fear the firm’s equipment could be used for espionage, something the company itself has always denied.
Downing Street has argued that stringent measures are in place to manage Huawei’s role.
Ahead of his talks in Number 10 with the PM, Mr Pompeo urged the British government to reverse its decision.
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He also described Huawei as an “extension of the Chinese Communist Party with a legal requirement to hand over information to the Chinese Communist Party”.
But speaking alongside Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at a Policy Exchange event in London, Mr Pompeo adopted a softer tone.
“I’m confident we can work together to implement that decision and work to get this right,” he said.
Mr Pompeo said that while the US would keep making the case that having Huawei technology within the network was “very difficult to mitigate” and therefore “not worth the candle”, it was up to individual countries to decide.
“Every country will make its own sovereign decision, just like the UK did,” he added.
Reinforcing his softer tone, Mr Pompeo said: “I am very confident that our two nations will find a way to work together to resolve this difference.”
On China more generally, he described Beijing as the “central threat of our times”.
“It is an enormous economy to which the American economy is deeply tied,” Mr Pompeo added.