Gavin Williamson has ‘grave and very deep concerns’ about Chinese companies operating high-speed mobile internet networks in Britain.
The Defence Secretary said the issue must be examined ‘very closely’ because the Chinese state can act ‘in a malign way’ which could impact national security.
China is currently a world leader in developing the next-generation mobile internet technology that promises to deliver much faster download speeds and could revolutionise connectivity.
But Australia and New Zealand have both recently banned the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei from providing 5G equipment on national security grounds.
The Australian government said there were concerns about the country’s internet networks being provided by companies ‘likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government’.
The technology, which will supersede 4G, could speed up the creation of ‘smart cities’ with linked networks of everything from traffic signals to driverless cars.
Mr Williamson said: ‘I have grave, very deep concerns about Huawei providing the 5G network in Britain. It’s something we’d have to look at very closely.
‘We’ve got to look at what partners such as Australia and the US are doing in order to ensure that they have the maximum security of that 5G network and we’ve got to recognise the fact, as has been recently exposed, the Chinese state does sometimes act in a malign way.’'
Read more: Britain should consider banning Chinese giant Huawei from building our 5G network, defence secretary says amid ‘very deep concerns’ over spying