POLITICS
21/07/2020 16:30 BST | Updated 21/07/2020 17:02 BST

Dominic Raab Denies US 'Strong-Armed' UK Into Huawei Ban

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told China-sceptic Tory MPs the UK must adopt “grand strategy”.

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Dominic Raab has denied the UK was “strong-armed” into taking a tougher line against China, including the decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network.

The foreign secretary met US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in London on Tuesday.

Pompeo also held talks with Boris Johnson and a group of China-sceptic Tory MPs.

HuffPost UK understands Pompeo told the MPs the UK must be less naive about China and develop a “grand strategy”.

In a short press conference this afternoon, Raab was asked if the UK had been “strong-armed into its China position”.

Raab acknowledged the British government’s decision to U-turn on its initial plan to allow Chinese-owned Huawei to be involved in the UK’s 5G infrastructure was a “result of US sanctions” on the firm.

But he added: “I don’t think there is any question of strong-arming. Mike and I aways have constructive discussions.

Raab added that “the vast majority of the time our views overlap and we work together very well”.

Pompeo welcomed the UK’s response to China and said the UK had taken a “sovereign” decision when it came to Huawei.

“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the British government for its principled response to these challenges,” he said.

“I think the United Kingdom made a good decision, but I think that decision was made not because the United States said it was a good decision, but because leadership here in the United Kingdom concluded the right thing to do was to make that decision for the people of the United Kingdom,” he added.

Tensions between the UK and China have escalated in recent weeks, following the imposition by Beijing of a new national security law on Hong Kong.

The British government has said the new law, which restricts civil liberties, violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration that was supposed to guarantee Hong Kong’s way of life for 50 years after the handover of the former British colony in 1997.

Yesterday Raab immediately suspended the UK’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong to prevent anti-Beijing dissidents being taken to China.

Raab has also accused Beijing of committing “gross, egregious human rights abuses” against the country’s Uyghur population in the north-western Xinjiang province.

The Chinese ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, told the BBC the UK was “dancing to the tune” of the US and accused Western countries of trying to foment a “new cold war”.

In the combative interview he also refused to explain drone footage of people handcuffed and blindfolded in China.