Chinese telecom giant Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei has brushed aside a US ban against his company, saying the Trump administration—which is urging European allies to cut their business ties with the tech giant—is “not powerful enough” to make others to follow its orders, as he flaunted his close links with the 10 Downing Street.
Escalating the bruising trade war with China, the US Department of Commerce recently blacklisted Huawei over security concerns and barred American companies from installing the telecom equipment.
Earlier in the week, US President Donald Trump said there is a possibility of including the Huawei issue in the ongoing trade negotiations with China.
In a recent interaction with the Chinese official media, 74-year-old Ren, whose daughter and CFO of Huawei Meng Wanzhou has been arrested in Canada to face prosecution for violations of American sanctions against Iran, said the US ban will not affect the roll-out of its 5G technology.
“I used to have afternoon tea at 10 Downing Street. They asked me how I learned to accompany the rest of the world, and I said it was afternoon tea. So they greeted me with afternoon tea on Downing Street,” he said pointing to his links with the British Prime Minister’s Office.
“We have communicated with leaders from different countries. Each country has its own interests. The US campaign will not be powerful enough to ask everyone to follow them,” he said.
However, as per UK media reports, Britain is still reviewing its 5G telecom and may allow Huawei to supply “non-core” 5G components, such as antenna masts.
The British government was also under pressure from internal reports highlighting concerns over implications of using Huawei 5G network.
As the British government dithered, a top Chinese diplomat in London has warned that there could be “substantial” repercussions for Chinese investment in the UK, if Huawei were to be banned from Britain’s 5G network.
In an interview to the BBC, Chen Wen, the Chinese charge d’affaires in London, said Beijing had already “witnessed some conscious moves” in that direction.
She further said the UK economy would be damaged by the message any ban on Huawei sent out to international and Chinese companies.