Boris Johnson cancelled a planned visit to the White House after a row over China in which President Trump slammed the phone down on him, according to reports.
Prime Minister Johnson was originally due to visit the White House last month following his election win, before postponing the meeting until February.
However, following a heated phone call with the American leader, the Prime Minister has cancelled his trip for fear causing a deeper rift, according to Business Insider.
Donald Trump was said to have been “apoplectic” in his phone call with Johnson while discussing the Briton’s decision to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei help build the United Kingdom’s 5G network, before slamming the phone down on the British leader.
Washington believes Huawei represents a significant security risk, and that Britain’s deal with it will compromise the world-beating Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network which encompasses the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Pinkerton: Did the British Reclaim Their Sovereignty – Only to Surrender It to China? https://t.co/Noeq4Oxpcc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 9, 2020
A post-Brexit trade deal between the U.S. and the United Kingdom has been seen as a top priority for both Trump and Johnson, yet spats over the requested extradition of the wife of an American diplomat, Iran, and Huawei have reportedly caused friction between them.
The Prime Minister and the President will now not meet until June at the G7 summit at Camp David.
In response to the cancelled White House visit, Stever Baker, chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteer Tory MPs, told The Times: “We need to be negotiating with the U.S. now. I’m concerned that our negotiating mandate isn’t already out there. Time is running out with our best ally as we head to a presidential election.”
Mr Johnson has refrained from making foreign trips to secure trade deals for Britain — which it had not been allowed to do during its time in the EU — and let his foreign secretary Dominic Raab take the lead.
Downing Street has reportedly cancelled trade missions to New Zealand and Australia, with an official at the prime ministerial residence saying there is “a lot of concern about this.”
“If we don’t do any trade tours this year, it’s going to affect the entire Brexit process,” they said.
Farage: UK’s Huawei Decision ‘Imperils Intelligence Sharing’, U.S. Trade Deal https://t.co/vjhICByqOF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 14, 2020
Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage, who recently met with the President at the Oval Office, said that there is “growing concern” in Washington over Johnson’s decision to allow Huawei access to the British 5G network.
“The recent decision of the UK government to involve the Chinese technology firm Huawei in the creation of our 5G network imperils not just intelligence sharing but a future trade deal passing in Congress,” Mr Farage warned.
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