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British PM under pressure to block deal with Huawei


ANI Europe
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a renewed pressure from his Cabinet Ministers to block the deal with the Chinese technology giant Huawei to build vast swathes of Britain's 5G network since Beijing falsely blamed the United States army delegation for bringing the coronavirus crisis to Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, The Daily Mail has reported.
Following months of public debate, the British government in January this year had allowed Huawei to help build the country's next generation of super-fast wireless networks, a decision that undermined the country's trade and intelligence ties with the United States. The US administration, by then, had raised potential threats regarding the national security posed by Huawei components and the threat of Chinese cyber attacks.
As per earlier reports of the CNN, Johnson, after announcing the decision, had also come under intense pressure, including from within his party, to agree to the US demand on Huawei.
The Daily Mail has also stated that there's fury among the British lawmakers about the Chinese Communist Party's misinformation blitz around the virus, restrictions on vast amounts of protective medical equipment being exported, and animal rights abuses blamed by experts for the outbreak.
"There is a disgusting disinformation campaign going on and it is unacceptable. They [the Chinese government] know they have got this badly wrong and rather than owning it they are spreading lies," a British government source told The Daily Mail on the condition of anonymity.
Furthermore, Johnson has been warned by scientific advisers that China's officially declared statistics on the number of cases of coronavirus could be "downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times." It is also believed that China is seeking to build its economic power during the pandemic with "predatory offers of help" to countries around the world.
A major review of British foreign policy has been shelved due to the COVID-19 outbreak and will not report until the impact of the virus can be assessed. "It is going to be back to the diplomatic drawing board after this. Rethink is an understatement," the source added.
Another source said, "There has to be a reckoning when this is over." "The anger goes right to the top," a third added.
In view of the above developments, critics of the British Prime Minister are continuously mobilising to press him to reverse his decision over Huawei's 5G services.
A senior Cabinet Minister said: "We can't stand by and allow the Chinese state's desire for secrecy to ruin the world's economy and then come back like nothing has happened. We're allowing companies like Huawei not just into our economy, but to be a crucial part of our infrastructure."
"This needs to be reviewed urgently, as does any strategically important infrastructure that relies on Chinese supply chains," he added.
Now, the problem with Johnson is that he is resisting changing the tack as he had vowed in last year's manifesto to roll out superfast broadband for the whole country - and that will be hard to achieve on time without Huawei.
Separately, there is growing pressure for Britain to lead the way in urging China to reform its record on animal rights.
A senior Minister said: "We have always known their wildlife markets are a recipe for a pandemic. China needs to close these down immediately. If they don't, they will rightly become a pariah state."
According to data compiled by the US-based John Hopkins University, the total tally of the coronavirus pandemic has soared past 500,000, with 24,000 succumbing to the contagious infected.

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First Published: Mar 29 2020 | 4:07 PM IST

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