China accuses Britain of helping Washington hurt Huawei

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A man wearing a mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus walks past a soon to open Huawei store in Beijing on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. China's government accused Britain on Wednesday of colluding with Washington to hurt Chinese companies after tech giant Huawei was blocked from working on a next-generation mobile phone network. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING – China accused Britain on Wednesday of colluding with Washington to hurt Huawei after the Chinese tech giant was blocked from working on a British next-generation mobile phone network.

A government spokeswoman said Beijing will protect Chinese companies but gave no indication of possible retaliation.

Washington accuses Huawei Technologies Ltd., the biggest maker of switching gear for phone and internet companies, of being a security risk, which the Chinese company denies. The Trump administration wants European and other allies to exclude Huawei as they upgrade to fifth-generation, or 5G, networks.

On Tuesday, the British government announced Huawei would be excluded from work on the network because U.S. sanctions made it impossible to ensure the security of Chinese-supplied equipment.

“Without any concrete evidence, the United Kingdom took unfounded risks as an excuse and cooperated with the United States to discriminate, suppress and exclude Chinese companies,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Last year, Washington imposed curbs on Huawei’s access to American components and other technology. In May, the Trump administration tightened controls by blocking non-U.S. companies from using American technology to produce processor chips and other components for Huawei without Washington’s approval.

Chinese officials accuse Washington of misusing national security concerns to block a rising competitor to U.S. tech suppliers.

“China will fully and seriously evaluate this incident and take all measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises,” Hua said.