Britain Needs to Rethink Its Huawei Decision after China’s Conduct over Coronavirus
by Con Coughlin • March 26, 2020 at 5:00 am
- “China is trying to turn its health crisis into a geopolitical opportunity. It is launching a soft power campaign aimed at filling the vacuum left by the United States.” — Yu Jie, a senior research fellow at London’s Chatham House
- China’s cynical attempts to use the coronavirus pandemic to its own advantage are not just deeply unethical: they should be taken as a warning that Beijing is not to be trusted, a lesson the West should take on board as it contemplates its future relationship with the Chinese, on trade and other issues such a 5G.
- In Britain, for example, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision earlier this year to allow Huawei access to the country’s new 5G network was taken despite the fact that the country’s security services have long-regarded Huawei as a “high-risk vendor”.
- Mr Johnson’s decision in favour of Huawei continuing its involvement in constructing the 5G network is said to have been influenced by threats from Beijing that Britain’s vital trading relationship with China would be adversely affected if Huawei was excluded.
China’s shameful attempt to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to further its own global ambitions should be seen as yet further evidence of the mounting threat Beijing poses to the West.
The blatant hypocrisy of China’s attempts to use the pandemic for its own ends should persuade countries such as Britain to undertake a fundamental reappraisal of their relationship with Beijing, especially when it comes to sensitive technological issues, such as allowing the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei access to the 5G network.
Far from being embarrassed that the rank incompetence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in dealing with the initial outbreak has resulted in the world suffering its worst public health crisis in a century, Beijing has instead embarked on a charm offensive aimed at providing support for affected countries.