The U.S. national security adviser said giving Huawei access to the U.K.’s 5G network poses a risk to British intelligence services.
Robert O’Brien said in an interview published in the Financial Times Tuesday that the Chinese equipment supplier would let Beijing steal U.K. state secrets “wholesale.”
“It is somewhat shocking to us that folks in the U.K. would look at Huawei as some sort of a commercial decision.” He said, “5G is a national security decision.”
The warning comes as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to decide whether to ban Huawei from the country’s 5G network.
The U.S. has repeatedly urged allies to avoid Huawei on the basis that the company is used by Beijing to spy. Huawei denies the allegations.
The U.K. has come under extra pressure since it forms part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network with the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
O’Brien said in the interview that people in Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia were waking up to the risks posed by Huawei.
He also used the interview to press German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been wavering on how to handle Huawei. Merkel is coming under pressure from lawmakers in her own party to shun the Chinese company, but is wary of doing so for fear of provoking reprisals.
“German citizens just are not ready to sign up for their state to become a vassal of Beijing,” O’Brien said.