BEIJING (Reuters) – China will take necessary measures in response to Britain’s “discriminatory” ban on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], which has severely damaged China’s investment confidence in the country, China’s Commerce Ministry said on Thursday.
“China is evaluating the UK actions that have betrayed free trade principles and will take necessary measures to resolutely defend Chinese firms’ legal rights,” ministry spokesman Gao Feng said during a weekly briefing, without giving details.
Earlier on Wednesday, China warned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that his decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network would cost Britain dearly in investment.
Johnson on Tuesday ordered Huawei equipment to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by the end of 2027, a decision that China sees as a result of politicised pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump.
Britain has lost its independence on the matter of Huawei, China’s foreign ministry said, adding that the British government should make responsible decisions in line with its long-term interests. [B9N2E0053]
Gao urged Britain to “correct its wrong behaviour” and protect its good trade ties with China.
Trump said this week he was responsible for Johnson’s Huawei decision, but Britain denied that and said it was motivated by its own security concerns and worries that supplies of Huawei gear could be interrupted by U.S. sanctions.
Britain had in January granted Huawei a limited role in its 5G rollout.
The United States says Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, is an agent of the Chinese Communist State and cannot be trusted.
Huawei denies it spies for China and has said the United States wants to frustrate its growth because no U.S. company could offer the same technology at a competitive price.
(This story corrects to ‘response’ in paragraph one.)
(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Cate Cadell; Additional reporting by Xu Jing and Se Young Lee; Editing by Robeert Birsel)