Breaking the spell: A protester outside the Supreme Court in Canada. Picture: BLOOMBERG via GETTY IMAGES/STEPHANIE LAMY
Breaking the spell: A protester outside the Supreme Court in Canada. Picture: BLOOMBERG via GETTY IMAGES/STEPHANIE LAMY

The trade war between the Trump administration and China — through the proxy Huawei — has begun its European campaign in earnest. As if Britain’s prime minister Theresa May didn’t have enough to cope with on Brexit, she now has another front opening up over her government’s decision to use Huawei’s technology in the UK’s new 5G networks.

The news from a secret UK National Security Council (NSC) meeting — supposedly leaked by rebellious cabinet ministers who weren’t happy with the approval – clearly shows that fears over the security of vital information doesn’t need any foreign company to be compromised.

Huawei has been banned from being used in the US and Australia, while some securocrats around the world have echoed the US fears about eavesdropping, including in the UK. May’s NSC meeting approved the use of Huawei in "noncore" technology or parts of the network. Westminster is clearly trying to appease Washington and Beijing, as can be seen in the limited role given to Huawei technology.

Huawei has defended itself by going on the offensive, firstly a charm campaign and then suing the US government for prohibiting its equipment from being bought by US telecoms companies. The Chinese telecoms giant produces superior 5G technology, analysts say, and has invested heavily in R&D that has propelled it ahead of its European equipment-making peers, Ericsson and Nokia.

Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou remains in Canada under house arrest at the request of the White House. Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, has become an unlikely pawn in the trade war that has now entered the European theatre since news broke last week.

Meng’s arrest also scandalously revealed that she used an Apple laptop, iPad and iPhone — not similar products from her own company, which recently overtook Apple to become the second-largest smartphone maker in the world.