July 19, 2020 / 1:48 AM / 25 days ago

UK asks Japan for Huawei alternatives in 5G networks - Nikkei

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a mask walks past a 5G advert as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, April 14, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley

TOKYO (Reuters) - The British government has asked Japan to help build its 5G wireless networks without Huawei Technologies, the Nikkei said on Sunday, a further step in a global technology and security war between the United States and China.

Britain named NEC Corp (6701.T) and Fujitsu Ltd (6702.T) as potential alternative suppliers to Huawei, the business daily reported, without citing sources.

British officials met with their counterparts in Tokyo on Thursday, two days after Britain ordered Huawei equipment purged from its 5G networks by the end of 2027, the Nikkei said.

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, fears over the security of Huawei have forced Prime Minister Johnson to choose between the United States and China, weighing a critical alliance against billions in investment.

The Nikkei said the latest move reflects Britain’s effort to bring in new equipment suppliers to foster competition and help reduce costs for the country’s wireless carriers.

The British embassy in Tokyo and Fujitsu did not immediately respond to email or text inquiries on Sunday. Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat and NEC did not answer calls. Huawei had no immediate comment.

China opposes the exclusion of companies from certain countries without evidence, and doing so can damage the progress of humanity, said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin when asked about the report at a daily news conference in Beijing on Monday.

British digital minister Oliver Dowden last week said Britain was working with its allies to foster stronger rivals to Huawei, naming firms from Finland, Sweden, South Korea and Japan.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki in Tokyo; Additional reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Ryan Woo in Beijing; Editing by William Mallard

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