Huawei: China's foreign minister says company 'won't do back door deals' on security

Tom Gillespie, news reporter

China's foreign minister has said Huawei is a "trustworthy" company, after senior Conservatives called on the government to rule out working with the telecommunications giant.

Wang Yi also said the Chinese firm has pledged "not to do back door deals" after six Conservative MPs, including four cabinet ministers, signed a letter raising concerns about the governments' decision to allow Huawei a role in building the UK's 5G Network.

In the letter sent earlier this week, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson, David Davis and Damian Green called for "high-risk" vendors to be ruled out now, or phased out over time.

The Chinese foreign minister told Sky News on Saturday: "Huawei is a private company.

"It should be treated equally, the same way as any other company.

"And Huawei has pledged to sign no back door deal with any government organisation.

"I haven't seen any other telecommunications company making that promise.

"Because Huawei are trustworthy enough."

Tobias Ellwood, the new chairman of the Defence Select Committee, also signed the letter to the government earlier this week.

He has suggested there are many unanswered questions about the Chinese firm.

Mr Ellwood said: "We don't know the extent to which Huawei is obliged to provide information to the Chinese authorities, by law they have to do so.

"We don't know the connections between the intelligence services and Huawei, and it isn't just Huawei, it's China Telecom, it's Tencent, Alibaba - all these companies are obliged to have a very different relationship to the state, to the Communist Party of China, than we have over here."

The letter come as US Vice President Mike Pence suggested the decision by Boris Johnson to allow Huawei a limited role in 5G roll-out could jeopardise a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and America.

Pressed on whether the Huawei decision could be a deal breaker in Brexit trade talks, Mr Pence told CNBC: "We'll see. We'll see if it is."

His remarks follow claims US President Donald Trump had vented "apoplectic" rage at the prime minister during a recent heated phone conversation with him about the 5G move.