Sasse slams 'Chairman Xi’s spy web' after reports UK will freeze Huawei out of 5G networks

By Tyler Olson | Fox News

‘Chairman Xi’s spy web isn’t going to like this’

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., hailed reports that the United Kingdom is planning to freeze the Chinese telecom giant Huawei out of its 5G network by the end of the year, saying it’s “good for the British government” to be giving Huawei the boot after months of pressure from the U.S.

The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that the U.K. would remove Huawei from its 5G infrastructure, and the Sunday Times reported the move would be complete “by Christmas.” The United Kingdom’s decision earlier this year to use Huawei to help build its 5G network sent American politicians into an uproar, with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., saying “Huawei has been and will continue to be a national security threat,” and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., saying “[t]he Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will now have a foothold to conduct pervasive espionage on British society.”

Now, as the U.K. is reportedly reversing its plans to use Huawei equipment – after a year of pressure from the U.S. to do otherwise – Sasse on Sunday voiced his support for the decision.

In this Sept. 27, 2018, file photo, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sasse Sunday said he supported the U.K.’s move to freeze Huawei out of its 5G network. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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“Chairman Xi’s spy web isn’t going to like this, but good for the British government,” he said. “Shared security interests are a major part of our special relationship with the Brits, and the Chinese Communist Party’s tech puppet should not be allowed to sit on our closest ally’s networks.”

The foreign policy victory for the United States comes as American officials are trying to fight back against a propaganda war from the Chinese government over the coronavirus, which Beijing has incorrectly said originated with the U.S. Army. It also comes as the two countries are engaged in military posturing in the South China Sea, trade tensions continue and both nations scramble to gain the upper hand in a 21st-century version of the space race.

China’s pervasive human rights abuses and crackdowns against free speech, particularly with a new “national security” law passed last week aimed at pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, also complicate the relationship between the U.S. and China — two countries with extensive economic ties. The State Department last week started warning American companies against working with Chinese companies that are “literally using slave labor.”

Sasse and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., two lawmakers who are almost constantly at odds, jointly led a letter in March urging the United Kingdom’s government to reconsider its Huawei decision. The letter included the signatures of 20 total senators ranging from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

“Given the significant security, privacy, and economic threats posed by Huawei, we strongly urge the United Kingdom to revisit its recent decision, take steps to mitigate the risks of Huawei, and work in close partnership with the U.S. on such efforts going forward,” the senators wrote.

They added: “Notably, the U.K. government itself has warned that Huawei’s telecommunications equipment raises “significant” security issues. Through China’s patchwork of vague intelligence, national security, and cybersecurity laws, Chinese companies are compelled to support and cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party’s intelligence-gathering authorities.”

The Trump administration has also railed against Huawei being allowed into the United Kingdom and the company’s ties to the CCP in general.

As the U.S. imposed rules preventing Huawei from accessing American technology in May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Huawei “a tool of the Chinese Communist Party, beholden to its orders.”

Fox News’ Gillian Turner and Sam Dorman contributed to this report. 

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