On Huawei, PM Johnson says Britain cannot prejudice security or cooperation

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the plenary session of the NATO summit in Watford, Britain, December 4, 2019. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

WATFORD, England (Reuters) - Britain’s decision on whether to allow Huawei a role in building 5G telecoms networks will be based on ensuring the national security and ensuring cooperation with the U.S.-led Five Eyes intelligence alliance, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday.

“On Huawei and 5G, I don’t want this country to be unnecessarily hostile to investment from overseas,” Johnson told reporters.

“On the other hand, we cannot prejudice our vital national security,” he added. “Nor can we prejudice our ability to cooperate with other vital Five Eyes security partners - and that will be the key criteria that informs our decision about Huawei.”

Huawei said it was confident that the British government would take an “objective” approach.

“We’re confident the UK government will continue to take an objective, evidence-based approach to cyber security,” a spokesman for the company said.

“We supply the kind of secure, resilient systems called for by the NATO Declaration and will continue working with them to build innovative new networks,” the spokesman said.

Writing by Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Guy Faulconbridge