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House Republicans introduce resolution condemning UK’s decision to allow Huawei in 5G networks

A group of House Republicans on Monday introduced a resolution condemning the British government’s decision to allow Chinese telecommunications group Huawei limited involvement in its 5G networks despite pressure from the Trump administration to ban the company.

The resolution, which “affirms that all Chinese companies, private and state-owned, are under the effective control of the Chinese Communist Party,” was introduced following the decision by the U.K.’s National Security Council to allow Huawei equipment in “periphery” 5G systems, but not core secure systems. The resolution strongly urges the U.K. to reconsider its decision.

The decision went against sustained pressure from the Trump administration to outright ban the company from the U.K.’s networks, with U.S. officials citing espionage concerns due to a Chinese law that requires Chinese companies to help with state intelligence work.  

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Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is the lead sponsor of the resolution, with Republican Reps. Ted Yoho (Fla.), Michael Turner (Ohio), Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Mike Gallagher (Wis.) joining him.  

The sponsors said in a joint statement that they were “extremely disappointed” in the U.K.’s decision on Huawei.

“Huawei equipment is absolute poison – providing them access to any aspect of a 5G network compromises the integrity of the entire system and will result in network data being sent back to Communist Party leaders in Beijing,” the sponsors said. “Investing in Huawei technology only serves to fund the regime’s malign activity at home and across the globe- from their internment of ethnic minorities in western China to spying on and stealing from Americans.”

The Republican members also noted that the U.K.’s decision could have a negative impact on the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K. 

“Our special relationship with the UK is built on our shared commitment to freedom and security,” the sponsors said. “We hope the UK will reverse course on this consequential decision and work with us to build a 5G future that will not only protect our mutual interests but will safeguard the values we share.”

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McCaul told The Hill last week that he planned to introduce the resolution, saying that he was “surprised” by the U.K.’s decision to allow limited use of Huawei equipment in the rollout of their 5G networks, saying that British intelligence agencies have access to information about “security risks” posed by the company. 

After the U.K.’s decision last week, concerns were raised on both sides of the aisle about continued intelligence sharing between the two countries. A senior White House official told The Hill last week that the U.S. was “disappointed” by the decision, but that the U.S. would “work with the U.K. on a way forward.”

Concerns were only underlined when the European Union ruled the day after the U.K.’s decision that member states would be able to decide for themselves whether to allow Huawei equipment in 5G networks.

Federal agencies in the U.S. have already taken steps against Huawei, with the Commerce Department adding the company to its “entity list,” effectively blacklisting it, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voting unanimously to designate the company as a national security risk in November.  

Huawei has pushed back against allegations that it poses a threat, and is suing the FCC. The company hailed the U.K.’s decision, with Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang saying in a statement that it would allow for “a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future.”

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