At a juncture where several reputable cybersecurity organizations have clearly pointed out the imminent threat and ethical implications of joining hands with Chinese telecom giant Huawei, countries such as the UK are planning on cutting back on their partnership with the company. The latest reports released by the UK government have made it clear that the country will reduce the role of Huawei to zero percent by 2023.
After finding out that the UK is planning on sidelining the Chinese giant, the news outlet China Daily, widely regarded as the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, has published an editorial that says “UK will pay price if it carries out a decision to exclude Huawei” and that the country will meet “retaliatory responses from Beijing”.
The editorial went on to say that the UK becoming free of Huawei for 5G would ultimately “hurt relations with China” and also “darken the UK’s post-Brexit economic prospects.
“Since the Chinese government has attached great significance to the way Huawei is treated overseas, and literally taken it increasingly as a test stone of bilateral ties, its reaction to such a decision should be easy to predict,” said the editorial.
China has a demonstrated history of lashing out against nations that have taken stringent action against the telecom giant due to spying and privacy invasion allegations. Back in December 2018, for instance, two Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were held back and detained in China after Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver.
Wanzhou was faced with extradition to the US on grounds of disregarding and avoiding international sanctions against some Islamic regions in Iran. Right when she was charged for the issue, the Global Times, one other state-run CCP mouthpieces clearly said that the Canadians were detained as an act of revenge against the extradition of Huawei’s CFO.
What’s more, the CCP mouthpiece, in the editorial dissing UK’s decision, stated that breaking ties with Huawei was indirectly an insulting gesture towards China.
“Unlike working together to address misgivings regarding security, pushing a certain company out of a country’s market simply because of its national identity is not only against market economy rules but also a very unfriendly gesture against the latter’s country of origin,” wrote China Daily.
While UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has joined hands with Huawei to build 35% of the UK’s 5G network, the decision did not sit well with the US. The country argued that Huawei could build backdoors in the network and make it vulnerable, which can potentially jeopardize the security ties between the US and the UK.