lørdag 18. juli 2020

Britain might like to follow Trump's lead on China. But it's hardly in a position to call the shots

When the UK announced its U-turn on allowing the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to play a part in the country's 5G network, it signaled an end to the so-called "golden era" of UK-China relations. To the delight of US President Donald Trump, the UK would seemingly no longer equivocate on its national securityin order to balance its relationship with China -- and would instead adopt something closer to a US-style hard line.

Oliver Dowden, the UK's secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, said that the US sanctions imposed on Huawei in May had "significantly changed" the landscape. "Given the uncertainty this creates around Huawei's supply chain, the UK can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment."

While the Huawei decision might in practice only be a reversal on one specific issue, it represents a huge symbolic win for British China hawks, who have been uncomfortable with the creep towards greater engagement with Beijing over the past two decades and have recently advocated for a much tougher stance on China, similar to that of the US government.