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US defence secretary Mark Esper has said using Huawei's 5G technology in the UK communications network could 'jeopardise alliances'.
The US-European divisions were on stark display in the spat over the Chinese tech giant during Mr Esper's speech at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.
He again discussed security concerns that 'reliance on Chinese 5G vendors could render ... critical systems vulnerable to disruption, manipulation and espionage.'
U.S Secretary of Defense Mark Esper makes a speech during the 56th Munich Security Conference at Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, Germany today
Washington has pushed hard for countries to bar Huawei from building their next generation 5G mobile networks, claiming its equipment can be used to spy for Beijing.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Huawei was the 'poster child' for China's 'nefarious strategy' to infiltrate and dominate crucial western infrastructure.
But key allies including Britain and France have resisted the pressure so far, agreeing to impose restrictions without going so far as to ban the company.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged Europeans to make 'an independent and wise choice' while providing 'a fair business environment for all companies'.
During his speech Mr Esper said: 'Reliance on Chinese 5G vendors could render our partners' critical systems vulnerable to disruption, manipulation and espionage.
'It could also jeopardise our intelligence and communication-sharing capabilities, and by extension it could jeopardise our alliances.
It comes as senior US officials are set to fly to London to raise their concerns directly with Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured on Thursday) at Downing Street on Wednesday
'The Chinese Communist party is heading even faster and further in the wrong direction with more internal repression, more predatory behaviour, more heavy-handedness and a more aggressive military posture. It is essential that the international community wake up to the challenge.'
He also urged governments and business leaders to build an ecosystem of 'industry champions' that can provide alternatives to Huawei.
Speaking on Saturday, Mr Esper told the conference that Washington was already working with vendors to develop and test new 5G technologies.
He said: 'We are encouraging allied and U.S. tech companies to develop alternative 5G solutions and we are working alongside them to test these technologies at our military bases as we speak.'
Mr Johnson is also coming under renewed pressure over his controversial decision to give Chinese tech giant Huawei a role in building the UK's 5G network.
A delegation of senior US officials - including Donald Trump's acting chief of staff - are set to fly to London to raise their concerns directly, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that MPs on Australia's intelligence and security committee have pulled out of a visit to the UK next month following a diplomatic row with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
Mick Mulvaney, who is leading the US delegation, is expected to call on the UK Government to change its decision on Huawei when they meet senior officials on Wednesday.
The Telegraph quoted a source close to the delegation as saying they expected to deliver a 'bollocking' to British officials. 'One thing is on the agenda, and it's not a trade deal - it is Huawei,' the source said.
Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of China, is pictured speaking on the second day of the conference in Munich today
The visit comes after an 'apoplectic' President Trump reportedly vented his fury with Mr Johnson when the Prime Minister telephoned him to explain the UK's decision last month.
The US has repeatedly warned that it would withhold intelligence-sharing from any ally which allowed Huawei access to its communications networks, which it regards as a national security threat.
The furious row has led to Mr Johnson reportedly delaying a planned visit to Washington which had been expected to take place over the spring.
A Number 10 spokesman insisted on Friday that the Prime Minister is still looking forward to travelling to the US but is 'currently focused on driving through the Government's ambitious domestic agenda'.
American concerns about China were underlined by Mr Esper who accused Beijing of stealing Western know-how while using its power to intimidate smaller neighbours.
'The Communist Party and its associated organs, including the People's Liberation Army, are increasingly operating in theatres outside its borders, including Europe, and seeking advantage by any means, and at any cost,' he said in speech to the international security conference in Munich.
Mr Johnson has faced criticism for downgrading Britain's presence at the event, with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and MI6 Chief Alex Younger pulling out and newly-appointed Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly attending instead.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also appealed yesterday at the conference for countries to steer clear of Huawei. She said: 'China is seeking to export its digital autocracy through its telecommunication giant Huawei.
'Nations cannot cede our telecommunication infrastructure to China for financial expediency. Such an ill-conceived concession would only embolden (President) Xi (Jinping) as he undermines democratic values, human rights, economic independence and national security.'
Chinese domination of 5G 'would be to choose autocracy over democracy,' the speaker said. 'We must instead move to an internationalization.'
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Republican, emphasized broad agreement in the U.S. that 'Huawei technology is a threat to the United States and, we really think, to world order.'
'Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump are probably not going to have many dinners together but, if you ask them about British purchase of Huawei, they'll give you the same answer,' Graham said.
'We owe it to the world, all of us do, to give you an alternative - we just can't say no forever to 5G,' he added.
'But we are very firm in our commitment, Republicans and Democrats, that if you go down the Huawei road, you're going to burn a lot of bridges.'
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8007537/Mark-Esper-warns-alliances-jeopardised-Huaweis-technology-allowed-UK.html