The question is thus: if this does mark a turning point in the US-China global tech rivalry, what will the next stage look like?
Given its history, there’s not much suspense in what the Trump administration will likely do next. Certainly it will keep pursuing Huawei’s Meng in court. And count on a new round of pressure in Europe as the EU deadline for members to stake out their 5G security protocols fast approaches this summer. But America’s 5G diplomatic push has been seen as tone deaf in European capitals – now that Britain is onside, Washington would be smart to let London take the lead.
How China responds is the more important question. Its continued strong and vocal support for Huawei should be assumed, but what form will it take? Huawei’s conciliatory approach in the UK has now clearly failed. But so too did its attempts to strong-arm Denmark. Will the gloves now come off? Or will Beijing be forced to distance itself from its national champion for Huawei’s own good?
Huawei has tried to have it both ways, benefiting from the support it draws from the Chinese government while assuring foreign governments of its independence at the same time. But as global public opinion harden against Beijing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and Western nations take stronger actions against his company, Huawei CEO Ren might consider just how hazardous being yoked to a superpower can be.