UK digital secretary: Huawei ban wasnt anti-China move

The U.K.s governments ban of Huawei equipment from their 5G network does not represent a “conscious uncoupling from China,” according to Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden.

When asked at a House of Commons science committee hearing if the ban represented a toughening in the U.K.s approach to China, Dowden insisted it was “specific response to a specific problem … Namely the further, very stringent, U.S. sanctions.”

The U.S. imposed new sanctions on Chinese telecom firm Huawei in May, targeting their supply chain. The U.K.s National Cyber Security Centre later concluded that the sanctions led to a lack of visibility for U.K. officials on the new components and companies that would be involved as Huawei reworked its supply chains, influencing the governments decision to U-turn and ban Huawei equipment last week.

The U.K.s U-turn on Huawei came after pressure from the United States and domestically from a group of backbench MPs hawkish on China. Led by Tory MPs Tom Tugendhat and Neil OBrien, the China Research Group was set up to promote “fresh thinking” on China while acting as a coalescing point for many of the 38 Tory MPs who previously rebelled on Huawei.

Tthe U.K. has also suspended an extradition deal with Hong Kong and offered up to