US, UK Agree to ‘Further’ Restrict Huawei, Defense Secretary Says


By Patrick Tucker March 5, 2020

But it’s not clear whether any actual changes emerged from Thursday’s meeting between the top U.S. and British defense leaders.

The United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to “further” reduce Huawei’s presence in telecom infrastructure, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a Pentagon press conference Thursday.

Esper described a lunch conversation with U.K. Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace on the subject as “candid,” without elaborating on what form the “further’ reduction would take. He highlighted the importance of the intelligence-sharing agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Five Eyes partners.

Opening critical allied networks to Chinese vendors that ultimately answer to the [Chinese] Communist Party could allow Beijing to access, disrupt, manipulate and misuse vital information, thus jeopardizing the integrity and strength of the NATO alliance,” he said.

Esper said U.S. officials want to work with the United Kingdom on “a way forward that results in the exclusion of untrusted vendor components for 5G networks” in the UK and elsewhere.

Both secretaries said their nations’ disagreement about Huawei was not over the nature of the threat of Chinese-manufactured telecom equipment, but about the best ways to deal with the threat.

The United States has pushed for an outright and total ban of gear from Huawei and other Chinese telecom providers.

The U.K. government has taken a less extreme position. While Huawei is banned from networks that the government considers to essential to national security, such as for government use or infrastructure, the government has allowed Huawei to take a position in the commercial market, a position capped at 35 percent of that market, with the ultimate goal of eventually cutting them out of the market entirely, a position Wallace referred to as “Ban, cap, and cut.”

The U.K. has a lot of experience probing Chinese telecommunications gear. In 2010, the government established the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre, or HCSEC, Oversight Board to better understand its threats to customer data and national security. Last March, the Center published a report that described “serious and systematic defects in Huawei’s software engineering and cyber security competence.”

It wasn’t immediately clear that the secretaries had reached any actual change in their relative positions during the meeting. The Defense Department and U.K. Embassy did not immediately respond to request for comment on the question.

Source: Defense One “US, UK Agree to ‘Further’ Restrict Huawei, Defense Secretary Says”

Note: This is Defense One’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


US Helpless in Killing Huawei as Europe Refuses to Cooperate


CNBC says in its article “Trump official compares Huawei to ‘the Mafia’ as White House works on 5G battle plan” yesterday that as a senior US official denounced China’s Huawei as “the Mafia”, CNBC believes that White House has ratcheted up its war of words against Huawei. However as the official was not willing to disclose his name, it is difficult to determine whether what the article says is authentic.

However, the article is believable about Trump’s angry phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the wake of the U.K.’s announcement that it would allow Huawei products in its 5G networks.

CNBC’s article is also believable about US New acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell’s suggestion that “the United States would cut off intelligence cooperation with Germany if that country doesn’t keep Huawei out of its telecommunications network.”

The war of words against Huawei seems formidable but is not effective as US allies would not do as the US tells it to.

Sorry, the US does not seem powerful enough to kill Huawei.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CNBC’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/25/trump-official-calls-huawei-mafia-as-white-house-works-on-5g-battle-plan.html.


Germany Follows UK Not to Ban Huawei, Where Is US Leadership?


Financial Times says in its article “Germany’s CDU stops short of Huawei ban in 5G rollout” yesterday, “Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union has backed a strategy paper that could potentially curtail Huawei’s involvement in Germany’s 5G rollout by barring ‘untrustworthy’ companies deemed to be subject to state influence from the process. But the recommendations will disappoint the US by stopping short of banning Huawei technology outright. Ms Merkel, the German chancellor, has opposed any attempt to single out the Chinese telecoms equipment maker, preferring instead to tighten security requirements on all suppliers.”

In order to contain China, the US has tried hard to force its allies to ban Huawei with the threat of ceasing intelligence sharing, but like UK who has allowed use of Huawei equipment with some restrictions, Germany is unwilling to follow US leadership in containing China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Financial Times’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.ft.com/content/e17ba42a-4ce1-11ea-95a0-43d18ec715f5.


Angry Trump Now Helpless To Stop Huawei’s Stunning Victory: This Week Everything Changes


Zak DoffmanContributor

AFP via Getty Images

The diplomatic spat between Washington and London continues to spiral us into unknown territory this weekend, with the news that even President Trump’s personal plea to Prime Minister Johnson on Friday evening has not pulled the U.K. back from the brink of its decision to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei into its 5G network.

The Sunday Times reported on January 26 that “Trump’s anger” would cast a cloud over the U.K.’s Brexit week, and that the president had told Johnson “that giving a green light to the [Huawei] deal would be a grave threat to national security.” There was even a suggestion from the U.S. that the two countries might forge an alternative to Huawei. The U.K., though, takes the view that to do so would take too long.

With a U.K. Huawei decision expected on Tuesday, January 28, the intensity around U.S. and U.K discussions is only matched by the fierce debate raging within the U.K. government itself. Johnson’s more hawkish cabinet members are said to be furious at the prospect of being “bounced” into a pro-Huawei decision. According to the Sunday Times, one source sourly suggested that “Huawei is next week’s Chinese virus.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make a last ditch attempt to sway minds in the U.K. this week, but sources close to events believe this is a now a done deal. There is even talk of a choreographed announcement on Tuesday involving Huawei itself. One would imagine that such a spectacle would be highly incendiary to the U.S.

Writing in the Sunday Times, British MP Bob Seely, a candidate to head the foreign affairs select committee, warned that the country may “regret our refusal to say ‘no way, Huawei’,” adding that he fears that “by the time we see the real cost, in the decades to come, it may be too late.”

On Friday, it was reported that Trump’s immediate riposte to Huawei, to significantly tighten sanctions against the company to damage its supply chain further has been thwarted by the Department of Defense, the argument being that such a move would damage U.S. industry and innovation. This led to an angry challenge from leading senators who suggested to the Pentagon that U.S. companies contracting with Huawei was akin to the same being down with KGB subsidiaries during the Cold War.

Now another letter has now been crafted from U.S. senators, this one directed at the U.K.’s National Security Council. The letter says that the Huawei decision is linked to the special relationship between the two countries. While specifically pulling back from trade agreement or intelligence-sharing threats, Senators Rubio, Cotton and Cornyn urge the U.K. to “make the right decision on Huawei,” which they stress would be “in the best interests” of that relationship.

It remains unclear what will actually happen on Tuesday if the U.K. does not take a last minute U-turn on Huawei. Spooks on both sides of the Atlantic are divided as to the actual risks and the practical application of any change to security alliances. What will be more of an immediate issue is other countries around the world, all of which are less capable than the U.K. of mitigating any Huawei risks, using the U.K. decision as an excuse to defy U.S. warnings. If it’s good enough for Washington’s closest ally, they will argue, it’s good enough for us.

Johnson remains in a bind on the issue. It is tricky for the U.K. to completely backtrack on Huawei without incurring significant cost and delays to the critical 5G rollout. At the same time, if he is seen to kowtow to Washington against the advice of his officials, it will play badly domestically—there is no popular uprising in the U.K. against Huawei. And so, it is likely that Johnson is taking a Brexit-like “let’s just get it done,” after which reparations can be made and political concessions offered.

And so all eyes are on what happens post-Tuesday, when absent any last minute shock, the U.K. will confirm the inevitable. Months of lobbying and wrangling will come to an end—at which point the real work begins as everything changes. Much of this work will be political, and the U.S. will need to be seen to act in some capacity to back up the risks they have raised and the mitigating actions they have threatened.

Whether there is any security or trade deal hangover from these events will be the subject of intense speculation in the coming weeks. While it is unlikely to scupper a trade deal, one can assume some impact. For the U.S., such as been the intensity of its lobbying that it cannot simply roll over on the issue—that would undermine its case. But any action could well be limited to the optics around security arrangements and need not interfere in anything commercial.

For the U.K., with the security issue settled other issues will come to the fore. Chief amongst these will be Huawei’s work in Xinjiang, where its technology forms part of the surveillance programs subjugating the Uighur minority. If the U.K. decision turns up the political heat on Huawei to face up to Beijing and back away from all such involvement, then at least something good will have come from this protracted process.

Source: Forbes “Angry Trump Now Helpless To Stop Huawei’s Stunning Victory: This Week Everything Changes”

Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views


Johnson will defy US and allow use of Huawei, says top security adviser


Chinese firm poised to help build UK’s 5G phone network despite warnings about spying

Michael Savage

Sat 18 Jan 2020 22.05 GMT

Boris Johnson is likely to approve the use of Huawei technology in the UK’s new 5G network against the pleas of the US government, a former national security adviser has said.

Sir Mark Lyall Grant, who was Theresa May’s national security adviser, said that the security services had repeatedly concluded over several years that they were able to mitigate any potential threats posed by the Chinese technology.

The US has warned the British government it “would be madness” to use Huawei technology and senior Washington officials have said numerous times that the Trump administration would reassess intelligence sharing with the UK in light of such a move.

However, UK security figures dispute the claim and Britain has already used some Huawei technology in previous mobile networks. A final decision is expected later this month.

Lyall Grant told the Observer: “This has been gone into now by three different administrations, and I think the outcome is quite likely to be the same – that the intelligence agencies are expressing confidence that they can sufficiently mitigate any potential security threat to allow Huawei to continue to provide at least the non-core telecommunications equipment for 5G rollout. The government has developed an oversight mechanism which they are confident will work.

Combine that with the fact that Huawei has more advanced technology than the alternatives, I think it is relatively likely that Boris Johnson will come to the same conclusion.”

Two of Britain’s biggest telecoms companies, BT and Vodafone, are understood to be drafting a letter to Johnson, setting out their support for Huawei’s involvement in 5G.

Last night, a senior Huawei executive, Victor Zhang, said there was simply “no justification” for banning the company on cyber security grounds.

After looking at the facts, we hope the government agrees – so that our customers can keep the UK’s 5G roll-out on track and meet the prime minister’s promise of gigabit connectivity for all,” he said.

Giving Huawei the go-ahead to continue supplying equipment will mean telecoms companies have access to the best technology and the breadth of suppliers they need to build secure, resilient and reliable networks.”

The dispute was a sign that Britain would be repeatedly asked to take a side in disputes between the US and China, Lyall Grant added. “The interesting thing about Huawei is that it is the first, but by no means the only issue on which the risk is over the next decade, we are going to be pressured to choose,” he said. “And that is a choice that on some issues the UK government is not going to want to make.”

Source: The Guardian “Johnson will defy US and allow use of Huawei, says top security adviser”

Note: This is The Guardian’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Britain’s ARM to continue supplying chip technology to Huawei


October 25, 2019 / 4:57 PM / Updated 9 hours ago

SHENZHEN, China/BEIJING (Reuters) – Chip designer ARM will continue to supply Huawei Technologies after the British company’s legal team ruled that its chip technology is of UK origin and would not breach U.S. restrictions on supplying the Chinese tech giant.

Huawei, the world’s No. 2 smartphone manufacturer, uses ARM blueprints to design processors that power its smartphones.

In May, ARM, owned by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, halted relations with Huawei after the United States all but banned American companies from doing business with it, disrupting Huawei’s ability to source key parts.

While Huawei was granted a reprieve until November, it remains set to lose access to some technology next month. ARM’s continued supply of chip technology to Huawei’s fully-owned chipmaker HiSilicon will ease the pressure it faces.

Huawei’s proprietary chips such as Kirin 990 mobile processors and Ascend 910 AI chipset are built on ARM’s design architecture and considered a major hallmark of the Chinese firm’s attempts to reduce its reliance on U.S. technologies.

ARM’s v8 and v9 are UK-origin technologies,” an ARM spokeswoman told Reuters via email on Friday.

ARM can provide support to HiSilicon for the ARM v8-A architecture, as well as the next generation of that architecture, following a comprehensive review of both architectures, which have been determined to be of UK origin.”

FILE PHOTO: Huawei’s newly launched Taishan series of ARM server, powered by the new Kunpeng chipsets is seen during a launch event at the Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Sijia Jiang

The U.S. government alleges that Huawei is a national security risk as its equipment could be used by Beijing to spy. Huawei has repeatedly denied its products pose a security threat.

Huawei’s results published last week showed the company’s revenue remains resilient in the face of the U.S. ban, with revenue for the first nine months of this year growing 24.4% to 610.8 billion yuan.

It is unclear whether the U.S. ban will affect ARM’s chip architecture designs beyond its next generation of the Arm v8-A.

Arm is actively communicating with department officials regarding any support of our partner HiSilicon, and we remain confident we are operating within the parameters of those guidelines,” the spokeswoman said.

Reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Yingzhi Yang in Beijing; editing by David Evans

Source: Reuters “Britain’s ARM to continue supplying chip technology to Huawei”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


UK defense secretary fired over Huawei 5G leak


Potential participation by Chinese company in network was top secret

YUSUKE NAKAJIMA, Nikkei staff writer
May 02, 2019 06:17 JST

Gavin Williamson was axed as defense secretary, accused of leaking top secret discussions about Huawei Technologies’ participation in the U.K.’s 5G network. © Reuters

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May removed Gavin Williamson as defense secretary Wednesday over leaked National Security Council discussions on allowing Huawei Technologies a role in building the country’s 5G network.

Some media reported earlier that the U.K. was moving to allow the embattled Chinese company to build some noncore parts of the next-generation communications infrastructure.

“I have concluded that I can no longer have full confidence in you as Secretary of State for Defence,” May wrote in a letter to Williamson. He will be replaced by Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary.

Williamson denies involvement in the leaks, according to the BBC.

The U.K. is also preparing for local elections Thursday and European Union elections on May 23. May’s ruling Conservative Party wants to show voters that it will stand firm against scandals as it struggles in the polls.

NSC information is top secret, so such a leak is dire in nature, a Conservative Party source told Nikkei.

May said she had “compelling evidence suggesting” that Williamson was responsible for the unauthorized disclosure, based on an investigation involving other NSC attendees. She also criticized his lack of cooperation with the probe.

The U.S. and Australia have moved to ban Huawei from participating in their 5G networks, with the White House calling on allied countries to bar the company’s products completely. That the U.K. was considering letting Huawei participate in noncore parts of the network represented a state secret of high importance, prompting May to launch an investigation into the leak.

But some within the U.K. have said the wide-ranging probe could impinge on freedom of press.

Source: Reuters “UK defense secretary fired over Huawei 5G leak”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.