June 3, 2019 / 1:10 PM / 12 days ago

Where do Britain's candidates for prime minister stand on Huawei?

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is visiting Britain this week on a state visit and is likely to urge the government to decide against allowing Chinese company Huawei to take part in its 5G telecoms infrastructure.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt speaks to the media after U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived for their state visit to Britain, at Stansted Airport near London, Britain, June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The Trump administration, which has sanctioned Huawei and tried to block it buying U.S. goods, has told allies not to use its 5G technology and equipment because of fears it would allow China to spy on sensitive communications and data.

Britain says it has yet to take a decision on those involved in the roll out of its 5G network, but earlier this year the Telegraph newspaper reported that the government had decided to allow Huawei a role in building parts of it.

After Prime Minister Theresa May announced she was stepping down following her failure to deliver Brexit on time, the spotlight now turns to the many contenders to replace her to see if they will favor using Huawei or not.

Here are the views on Huawei of some of the 13 contenders to replace May.

JEREMY HUNT, foreign secretary

“We take careful notice of everything the U.S. says on these issues,” Hunt told BBC radio on Monday. “We will certainly listen carefully to what they say.”

“We haven’t made our final decision but we have also made it clear that we are considering both the technical issues - how you make sure there isn’t a backdoor so that a third country could use 5G to spy on us - but also the strategic issues so that you make sure that you are not technologically over-dependent on a third country for absolutely vital technology.”

SAJID JAVID, interior minister

“I would not want any company, whichever country it’s from, that has a high degree of control by a foreign government to have access to our very sensitive telecommunications network,” Javid told the BBC.

DOMINIC RAAB, former Brexit minister

“First of all I think that the contracts can be segmented and protected so that ... any business, whether its Chinese or any other business, can threaten our national security. And I think if you’ve got that protection in place, I think actually we want to be open to business. We’ve got Chinese investments, we’ve got Huawei investments, already in infrastructure projects, we’ve got international investment going into nuclear reactors and all sorts of other things. I don’t think we want to turn away that international investment, but we do need to make sure absolutely that the contracts are there to protect our security,” he told the BBC.

ESTHER MCVEY, former pensions secretary

“As prime minister I would not be prepared to put UK security and our critical security partnerships at risk. I want the UK to have a positive relationship with China, but this must be balanced alongside security. The inclusion of Huawei in our 5G network is not a risk we as a country should take,” she said, according to the Times newspaper.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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