UK eyes cuts to Huawei’s 5G network involvement in wake of COVID-19: report

FILE PHOTO: The British flag and a smartphone with a Huawei and 5G network logo are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture taken January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to reduce Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s [HWT.UL] involvement in Britain’s 5G network in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported bit.ly/2zmI2DE.

Johnson has asked officials to make plans to reduce China’s involvement in British infrastructure to zero by 2023, the newspaper reported late on Friday.

The prime minister is expected to use less reliance on China as a means to boost trade talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in the aftermath of Britain’s departure from the European Union, according to the newspaper.

Earlier on Friday, The Times reported that Johnson has instructed civil servants to make plans to end Britain’s reliance on China for vital medical supplies and other strategic imports.

Beijing has been tackling mounting international criticism over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in China before spreading to the rest of the world.

“He (Johnson) still wants a relationship with China but the Huawei deal is going to be significantly scaled back. Officials have been instructed to come up with a plan to reduce Huawei’s involvement as quickly as possible”, a source was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft and Rosalba O’Brien

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