The UK is vulnerable to Chinese influence and interference, according to a defence and security think tank. A report from the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) said it would be “naive” and “irresponsible” to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to access the UK’s telecommunications system. The UK is currently reviewing whether to allow the company to build new 5G phone networks. A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy said the claims were “scaremongering”. The report, written by Charles Parton, a former British diplomat who spent most of his 30 year career working on China, said that if Huawei was allowed to participate in the rollout of the new 5G mobile networks it could install a “hidden backdoor”, giving the Chinese government access to the system. It also warned of the risk of interference in other areas including academia, politics and technology.
BBC 20th Feb 2019 read more »
In areas such as power generation, there may be less to worry about. A Chinese priority is to export its nuclear industry. China General Nuclear’s 33% stake in the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant project in Somerset is critical to this, because it serves as an important example to the rest of the world of a major Western country having confidence in China’s nuclear industry. For the CCP to interfere (perhaps by building weaknesses into computer systems),72 or even to use its participation as a threat, would undermine China’s prospects for growth in this industrial sector. Short of outright war between the UK and China, economic, financial, safety and technological considerations far outweigh security factors in determining whether to allow China into the UK’s power sector. Nevertheless, it would be wise to restrict China from participating in projects that account for more than 10–15% of the UK’s power output. This would prevent Chinese companies from having too great a degree of control over the UK’s grid systems.
RUSI 20th Feb 2019 read more »