The UK government's decision, announced at the end of last month, to include Chinese Huawei equipment in the construction of the 5G telecommunications network could expose a third of the British population to potential shutdown critical infrastructure, according to a Donald Trump administration official.
"We are not happy with the UK's position at this time," said Robert Strayer, Deputy Deputy Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communication and Information Technology Policy in the United States, during a briefing with journalists in Lisbon.
"The United Kingdom announced an initial decision that has yet to be passed in law, through Parliament and other steps," he said. "They are a very close ally, just like Portugal, so we need to work as partners and make them understand our position in this".
Donald Trump's government has taken steps to block the Chinese company's activity in the United States and is trying to convince partner countries like the United Kingdom and Portugal to opt for equipment from companies like Samsung, Nokia or Ericsson, as it sees Huawei as an arm Beijing uses to get crucial data from the West.
"Our economies around the world are so interconnected that if China decided to have a port or energy closed, that would have significant consequences for us both economically and in terms of security," explained Strayer.
"As close allies in NATO with the United Kingdom and Portugal, we cannot give China access to activities that we are doing to mobilize troops or other activities that we do jointly and confidentially," he underlined. “Not all networks are top secret, we are talking about day-to-day activities that could potentially give China information about what we are doing ”.