It comes after Beijing’s decision to pass a controversial national security law onto Hong Kong sent shockwaves around the world due to fears it could erode the unique freedoms that the region has within China. Johnson had warned that the UK would relax its immigration laws pertaining to certain Hong Kong residents if the law were passed, which would place potentially millions on a route of citizenship.
He said that Britain would “have no choice but to uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong” in retaliation to China’s move.
On Wednesday this week, the government confirmed that it had set this plan in motion, which will allow Hong Kong residents with a British National Overseas passport to come to the UK for five years before applying for settled status or citizenship.
But the move prompted warnings from China that the UK would face “consequences” for doing so.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a Beijing press briefing that China condemned the UK’s offer of residency to Hong Kong residents and said China “reserves the right to take further measures”, the Guardian reports.
Boris Johnson has said that the UK would have to
In an interview with the Evening Standard yesterday, the prime minister said that, given these tensions between the UK and China, the government would have to carefully consider what its next step would be given its 5G network plans.
He told the paper: “On Huawei, I’m not against investment in this country.
“But I don’t want to see our critical national infrastructure at risk of being in any way controlled by potentially hostile state vendors.
“So, we have to think very carefully about how to proceed now”.
Even before the Hong Kong situation arose, the US has set about pressuring the UK into reconsidering its relationship with Huawei for much of this year.
The UK has approved the use of Huawei technology in some of its 5G network.
Only last week, the US Sta te Department issued a warning to the UK after South Cambridgeshire council permitted Huawei to build a £1 billion chip manufacturing facility there.
In a statement shared with US broadcaster CNBC, the Department said: “We urge all countries, particularly allies and partners like the United Kingdom, to carefully assess the long-term impact of allowing untrusted companies like Huawei access to sensitive information”.
The US has taken an increasingly tough stance on Huawei, this week declaring it, alongside competing Chinese telecoms company ZTE, to be a national security threat.
As a result, it’s claimed that the UK government is reviewing how the US’ announcement – and the sanctions that came with it – might affect the UK’s relationship with the company.
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Protests have risen up in Hong Kong in response to the national security law.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said that the US’ move would be “likely to have an impact of the viability of Huawei as a provider for the 5G network.”
In January this year, the UK government announced it had approved the use of Huawei technology in the country’s 5G data network – though it’s understood that Huawei technology would not be involved in any nuclear or military sites.
In lighter moments in yesterday’s interview, the Prime Minister told the Evening Standard that he was looking forward to this Saturday, when the UK will enter its next stage of lockdown easing.
A 5G network mast, part of the UK’s speedy network infrastructure.
June 4 will see the reopening of pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and a number of cultural establishments.
Johnson admitted he had plans to take fiancée Carrie Symonds on a night out – though he didn’t reveal where – and said he was also planning a trip to the pub.