Donald Trump discussed the security of telecommunications networks with Boris Johnson, the White House said, as Britain closes in on a decision on Huawei’s role in the country’s future 5G network.
The US administration told allies not to allow the Chinese tech giant to form part of such networks, claiming it would be a security risk – a claim that Huawei vehemently denies.
Security of telecommunications networks was discussed in a phone call between the two leaders on Friday, according to the White House, amid reports that UK officials have backed the firm to play a role.
The White House said on Friday: “The two leaders discussed important regional and bilateral issues, including working together to ensure the security of our telecommunications networks.”
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The prime minister spoke to president Trump. They discussed a range of issues, including cooperation to ensure the security of our telecommunications networks.”
The US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, was expected to raise the issue in talks with the chancellor, Sajid Javid, on Saturday, in efforts to persuade the UK to exclude the Chinese firm from its telecommunications structure.
A final decision by the National Security Council of senior ministers is widely expected next week.
Last year, the US imposed trade restrictions on Huawei over concerns about the company’s security and ties to the Chinese government.
Allegations that their telecommunications equipment could be used to spy on people have been repeatedly denied by the tech giant.