Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ban Huawei from the UK's 5G network on Tuesday, which annoys China, but pleases U.S. President Donald Trump by signaling that the world's largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer is no longer welcome in the West.
The United States has urged Johnson to reverse its January decision to grant Huawei a limited role in 5G, while London was dismayed by a move in Hong Kong and China's perception did not tell the whole truth about the corona virus.
Now that Britain is preparing to leave the European Union, Johnson will risk the wrath of the world's second largest economy by ordering a cleaning up of Huawei equipment that the US says could be used to spy on the West.
The British National Security Council (NSC), chaired by Johnson, will meet Tuesday morning to discuss Huawei. Media Secretary Oliver Dowden will then announce a decision in the House of Commons around 11:30 GMT.
The immediate excuse for the upcoming policy turnaround is the impact of new U.S. sanctions on chip technology that, according to London, are affecting Huawei's ability to remain a reliable supplier.
"Apparently, the context has changed slightly with some of the US sanctions," Environment Minister George Eustice told Sky News when asked about Huawei.
In what some have compared the Cold War antagonism with the Soviet Union, the United States fears that 5G's dominance is a milestone towards China's technological supremacy that could shape 21st century geopolitics.
The faster data and increased capacity of 5G make it a foundation for industry and an engine of economic growth. Britain is the west's most powerful intelligence agency after the United States and is being monitored by allies on the Huawei issue.
Telecommunications companies had to limit Huawei's role in 5G to 35% by 2023. A reduction to zero over another two to four years is currently under discussion, although operators say walking too fast could disrupt the services and prove costly.
End of the "golden era"?
Hanging up with Huawei, founded in 1987 by a former engineer from the People's Liberation Army, marks the end of what former Prime Minister David Cameron called the "golden era" associated with Britain as Europe's most important destination for the Chinese capital.
Cameron initiated the relationship over a beer with President Xi Jinping in an English pub that was later bought by a Chinese company.
However, Trump has repeatedly asked London to ban Huawei, which Washington calls agents of the Communist State of China – an argument supported by the Johnson Conservative Party.
Huawei denies having spied for China and has stated that the US wants to thwart its growth because no US company could offer the same technology at a competitive price.
China said the ban on one of its world's leading technology companies would have far-reaching consequences. His ambassador said a U-turn against Huawei would damage the UK's image and would have consequences if China were treated as hostile.
In January, Johnson Trump resisted by allowing so-called high-risk companies to participate in 5G, which was limited to 35%. He excluded them from the sensitive 5G "core" in which data is processed, as well as from critical networks and locations such as nuclear and military locations.
Huawei and customers like BT, Vodafone and Three are waiting for how extensive the new ban will be and how quickly it will be implemented. Hundreds of millions of pounds depend on the outcome.
The other major providers of telecommunications equipment are the Swedish company Ericsson and the Finnish company Nokia. British lawmakers have complained that no western company offers the same value equipment, despite the call to set up a western consortium to compete with China.
(Written by Paul Sandle and Guy Faulconbridge; edited by William Maclean and Peter Graff)
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)