New alliance would end reliance on Huawei 5G technology . . .
The United Kingdom is advocating for the formation of a ‘D10’ club of democratic partners that would create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China. Increasingly concerned about Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, Downing Street has reached out to Washington ahead of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to the U.S. next month for the G7 summit. The D10 club, which would include the G7 plus Australia, India, and South Korea, would channel investment to technology companies based within the D10 partner states.
History of 5G security concerns . . .
In January, Prime Minister Johnson signed off on a deal that would allow Huawei to build up to 35 per cent of the U.K.’s 5G network. But since then backlash against the deal and Chinese 5G investment in general has grown. Critics say the U.K.’s predicament is due to the lack of industrial strategy around 5G capacity building in the U.K. and allied countries. Johnson is seeking to reverse this trend and to scale down China’s involvement in the U.K.’s infrastructure to zero by 2023. The announcement follows the White House’s mid-May announcement of restrictions intended to block Huawei from using any product with U.S. intellectual property in it. Washington’s order means that within 120 days, companies that manufacture or design chips which end up in Huawei equipment will need a license to use U.S. equipment.
Implications for Canada . . .
The D10 proposal is expected to feature prominently at the upcoming G7 summit and will be part of a deeper discussion on China’s responsibility for the spread of COVID-19 and suspected economic opportunism in the wake of the crisis. Canada has a long and complicated relationship with Huawei and Chinese technology-sector investment, and has of late been caught in the middle of growing U.S.-China confrontations. Canada will have an important role to play at the G7 summit in striking a balance between domestic technology capacity building, 5G security concerns, and maintaining the independence of its domestic policy making from the U.S.
- South China Morning Post: Britain wants the US to form a 10-nation 5G alliance to cut reliance on China’s Huawei
- The Telegraph: US steps up tech war with China by imposing new measures on Huawei
- The Times UK: Downing Street plans new 5G club of democracies