Briefing

China warns of economic blowback for U.K. over Huawei ban

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Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming said Britain’s decision to ban the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G networks over national security concerns will cause other Chinese firms to reconsider doing business in the U.K. A spokesperson for the country’s foreign ministry echoed the warnings, saying the decision compromised “the safety of Chinese investment in the U.K.” Chinese state media, meanwhile, called for “public and painful” retaliation against Britain for its decision. (Reuters, The Guardian)

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Talking point: The U.K.’s relations with China have suffered in recent weeks, after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, a former British colony, which the U.K. has strongly opposed. The ban, however, is more directly tied to new U.S. sanctions on Huawei that could further compromise the security of the firm’s equipment. The decision, for which U.S. President Donald Trump has claimed credit, leaves Canada as the only Five Eyes country without any restrictions on the Shenzhen-based telecom firm’s involvement in its 5G networks. While Ottawa hasn’t said whether it will follow suit, U.K. Digital Minister Oliver Dowden said Canada has conducted a similar security analysis as the one Britain used to reach its decision to restrict the firm. The fallout in the U.K. offers a glimpse at what Canada may face if it sides with its closest allies. Investment and trade between Canada and China has already suffered in the wake of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in Vancouver in late 2018. China denies that the drop in business is related to the arrest, though Beijing’s response to the U.K. decision suggests there could be further strain on China-Canada business relations in the event of a Huawei ban.