Trump and Johnson clash over UK’s Huawei 5G deal
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Donald Trump has blasted Boris Johnson with ‘apoplectic’ rage during a heated call over Britain’s decision to allow Huawei into its 5G network, it has been reported.
Prime Minister Johnson had previously opposed repeated lobbying from the US to ultimately rule that the Chinese firm could play a limited role in the UK's 5G infrastructure. The US had warned that the move would jeopardise intelligence sharing as it raised concerns over the telecommunications company’s links to the Chinese state and allegations of state-sponsored espionage.
According to the Financial Times, which cited officials in London and Washington, the US President was “livid” with Johnson in a phone call after Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s 5G infrastructure was given the green light last week.
The newspaper added that one person briefed on the contents of the call described the US president as being “apoplectic” with rage at the PM. Downing Street did not deny the report and pointed towards a No. 10 version of events after the call, stating that the PM has updated Trump on the decision.
“The Prime Minister underlined the importance of like-minded countries working together to diversify the market and break the dominance of a small number of companies,” the statement added.
The move, however, could create a challenge for Johnson, as his Brexit plans rely heavily on striking an ambitious free trade deal with the US, with Huawei being one of a series of issues where the two nations are at odds.
Recently, Washington has threatened to retaliate with tariffs on the British car industry if the Government goes ahead with a planned tax on tech companies such as Google and Facebook.
From a non-technological standpoint, the UK is also pressing for the extradition of the wife of an American intelligence official, who is charged with causing the death of 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn in a road accident just outside the RAF Croughton airbase.
Despite the reported quarrel between Trump and Johnson, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remains positive about the relationship between the two nations, describing it as a “special relationship” and a “fantastic place” as he visited London.
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