Wednesday, 8 May 2019

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo issued a thinly-veiled threat to block the UK's access to vital American intelligence

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has issued a thinly-veiled threat to block the UK's access to vital American intelligence in a row over Chinese tech firm Huawei.

On a visit to London Donald Trump's top diplomat hailed the 'special relationship' between the two nations.

But standing alongside Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt he warned that the US would not allow access to its secrets to countries who were not using 'trusted networks'.

Washington is urging allies to keep Huawei out of sensitive infrastructure programmes, citing fears that the company may provide a route for China's communist regime to spy on the West.
But Mrs May had reportedly gave the green light to the company bidding for work on 'non-core' aspects of the hi-tech 5G network at a secret meeting, overruling concerns from ministers including Gavin Williamson, who was later sacked as defence secretary over suspicions that he had leaked details of discussions.

Mr Pompeo said today: 'I have great confidence that the UK will never take an action that will break the special relationship.

'With respect to 5G, we will continue to have technical discussions.

'We are making our views very well know. From America's perspective each country has a sovereign right to make its own decision about how to deal with the challenge.

'The US has an obligation to ensure that places where we operate, places where American information is, places where we have our national security at risk, that they operate inside trusted networks and we that is what we will do.'
Mr Pompeo is the first member of President Donald Trump's administration to speak face-to-face with the PM and Mr Hunt since last month's National Security Council meeting.

Pompeo blasts Corbyn over support for Venezuela's Maduro
Mike Pompeo hit out at Jeremy Corbyn over the crisis in Venezuela, condemned the 'disgusting' support of some political leaders in Western countries for leftist dictator Nicolas Maduro.

In response to a question about the Labour leader's backing for Mr Maduro, Mr Pompeo said: 'It is disgusting to see leaders, not only in the United Kingdom but in the United States as well, who continue to support the murderous dictator Maduro.

'No leader from a country with Western democratic values ought to stand behind them.'

In February Mr Corbyn was criticised by Brendan Cox, the widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox and a former chief strategist at Save the Children, who accused him of 'defending a dictator' over his stance on the beleaguered Latin American nation.

More recently the Labour leader has criticised outside interference  in Caracas' affairs.

Jeremy Hunt added: 'This is a country where three million people have fled the country, GDP has gone down by 40 per cent in the last four years, people can't access basic medicine, people are rifling through rubbish bags to get food in the streets.

'(Shadow chancellor) John McDonnell describes this as socialism in action and I think people need to draw their own conclusions about what his own plans might be for the UK.'

He urged the British Government to be 'vigilant and vocal against a host of Chinese activities that undermine the sovereignty of all nations'.

He said: 'China peddles corrupt infrastructure deals in return for political influence.

'Its bribe-fuelled debt diplomacy undermines good governance and threatens to upend the free market model on which so many countries depend.'

Mr Hunt told reporters no decision had been taken on whether the UK will permit Huawei involvement in its 5G network.

'With respect to Huawei and 5G, we have not made our final decision as a Government,' he said. 'We are considering the evidence very carefully.

'But we would never take a decision that compromised our ability to share intelligence with our Five Eyes colleagues, in particular with the United States.

'We are absolutely clear that the security relationship that we have with the United States is what has underpinned the international order since 1945 and has led to unparalleled peace and prosperity, and the preservation of that is our number one foreign policy priority.'

The secretary of state arrived in Downing Street today after the Prime Minister had been warned that it would be 'naive to the point of negligence' to give Huawei further access to the UK's network.

Julian Lewis, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, made the warning at Prime Minister's Questions, but the Prime Minister insisted that she would do nothing to jeopardise the UK's national security.

'We are taking a robust, risk-based approach that's right for our UK market and network, and that addresses the UK national security needs,' she told MPs.

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