The Prime Minister plans to reduce Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s 5G network in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Telegraph has learned. Boris Johnson has instructed officials to draw up plans that would see China’s involvement in the UK’s infrastructure scaled down to zero by 2023. It comes as Mr Johnson is poised to visit the US for the G7 summit next month in his first trip abroad since the crisis began. Having called for the UK to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on China for goods, he is expected to ramp up trade talks with US President Donald Trump as Brexit negotiations with the EU have become increasingly fractious. The rethinking of the Huawei deal follows a growing backlash among Tory MPs against Chinese investment following the global pandemic, which originated in Wuhan. The Communist state has been accused of covering up the initial scale of the infection while Chinese hackers are suspected of breaking into US Covid-19 research. A recent cyber attack which exposed the data of around nine million easyJet customers has been also linked to Beijing. There is mounting suspicion in the West over Beijing’s repeated attempts to leverage economic advantage from the disaster. Conservative MPs had previously liked Huawei to “heroin” and argued the “rushed” deal had angered allies and left Britain “utterly friendless” after members of the Five Eyes alliance raised fears over spying. Insiders have told the Telegraph Mr Johnson always had “serious concerns” about the 5G agreement, which was brokered by Theresa May’s government, but signed off by her successor in January. A well-placed source said: “He still wants a relationship with China but the Huawei deal is going to be significantly scaled back. Officials have been instructed to come up with a plan to reduce Huawei’s involvement as quickly as possible. “He has taken a great many soundings from his own MPs on this issue and shares their serious concerns. The deal was struck before the pandemic hit but coronavirus has changed everything.” The revelation came as Downing Street revealed ministers were in close contact with Washington over President Trump’s proposals to hold a number of G7 sessions at the White House and Camp David from June 10-13. The Commander-in-chief has been highly critical of the UK’s decision to allow Huawei to build 35 per cent of its network, despite Britain branding the Shenzhen-based telecoms giant a “high risk vendor”. He threatened to restrict Britain's access to Five Eyes intelligence which is gathered and shared by the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, following what was described as an “apoplectic” phone call with the Prime Minister over the deal in February. Mike Pence, US vice-president, said afterwards that the Huawei decision that the Trump administration had made its disappointment at the UK decision “very clear to them”. President Trump has led the global outcry over China’s role in the coronavirus crisis, accusing authorities of manipulating information and failing to adequately warn other countries about its deadly nature. In its latest power grab, China on Friday set in motion a controversial national security law for Hong Kong, bypassing its lawmakers, in a move seen as an attempt to stifle the city’s special freedoms. The UK, Australia and Canada released a joint statement condemning the move, saying it undermined the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ under which Hong Kong is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy.



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