U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Downing Street for talks on a range of China-related issues on Tuesday.
Pompeo is in London for a two-day visit, during which he will also have talks with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
The Chinese regime’s National Security Law for Hong Kong and Chinese telecom firm Huawei’s role in 5G networks are high on the agenda of the talks.
Pompeo will discuss with Johnson plans to create an alternative to Huawei, which Britain has decided to exclude from its 5G networks.
The United States welcomed the UK’s decision to prohibit new purchases of 5G equipment from Huawei and to phase out existing Huawei equipment from its 5G networks, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
Johnson initially favoured a limited role for Huawei in Britain’s 5G networks, but reversed the decision on July 14 due to pressure from the United States and his own backbench Conservative members of Parliament.
Constructive visit with @BorisJohnson today. Our two countries’ long-standing, strong bilateral relationship has laid the foundation for today’s candid discussion on issues ranging from 5G telecommunication to our negotiations for a U.S.-UK free trade agreement. pic.twitter.com/9j1o3bK8e6
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 21, 2020
“Allowing untrusted, high-risk vendors, such as Huawei, into any part of 5G networks makes critical systems vulnerable to disruption, manipulation, and espionage, and puts sensitive government, commercial, and personal information at risk,” the State Department said.
“We will continue to work with the UK on fostering a secure and vibrant 5G ecosystem, which is critical to Transatlantic prosperity and security.”
The State Department also hailed the UK’s role as “a global leader and our close partner in promoting and protecting human rights.”
“We welcome the UK’s recent decision to grant British Nationals Overseas the right to work and eventually apply for citizenship in the UK,” State Department said.
The UK announced it will extend immigration rights for an estimated 3 million Hong Kong residents who hold British National (Overseas) status after the Chinese regime imposed a draconian national security law on Hong Kong on June 30.
The national security law criminalizes individuals for any acts of subversion, secession, and collusion with foreign forces against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Johnson has said that the law “constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino–British Joint Declaration,” as it “violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and is in direct conflict with Hong Kong basic law.”
Foreign Secretary Raab said yesterday the UK was also suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and expanding its arms embargo on mainland China to the former British colony.
Pompeo is due to meet Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law, who fled to London after the imposition of the security law, and the last British governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten.
Other topics on the agenda of official talks include plans for economic recovery in the wake of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, and the U.S.–UK Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Pompeo will also visit Denmark on July 22. He will meet Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to discuss the pandemic, China, and other matters.
Reuters contributed to this report.