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todayonline - 1 month ago

UK in 5G talks with suppliers from Japan, South Korea -source

LONDON, June 3 - British officials have discussed supplies of 5G networking equipment with companies in South Korea and Japan as part of a bid to develop alternatives to China s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The source said the talks with Japan s NEC Corp and South Korea s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which were first reported by Bloomberg, are part of a government plan announced last year to diversify Britain s range of 5G suppliers. A government spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment after normal working hours in London. NEC and Samsung were not immediately available outside normal business hours. Britain designated Huawei a high-risk vendor in January, capping its 5G involvement at 35% and excluding it from the data-heavy core of the network. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under renewed pressure from the United States and lawmakers in his own party, who say Huawei s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying. Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations. Ties between the United Kingdom and China have also grown tense since Britain s decision on Huawei over Beijing s handling of the situation in Hong Kong and the COVID-19 pandemic. London is now looking at the possibility of phasing Huawei out of its 5G network completely by 2023, officials say, and pushing forward with plans to develop a range of alternative suppliers. Security officials are also looking at the impact of new U.S. sanctions which limit the Chinese company s ability to produce the microchips needed for its equipment. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton told UK lawmakers on Tuesday that China was using Huawei to drive a hi-tech wedge between Britain and the United States. REUTERS

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