US security adviser John Bolton seeks UK tough stance on Iran and China

White House looks to align itself closer to Boris Johnson’s government

National security adviser John Bolton speaks to media at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Powered by automated translation

Donald Trump’s hardline national security adviser John Bolton will urge Boris Johnson’s government to toughen its stance on Iran and China’s telecommunications firm Huawei on a two-day visit to London.

Talks with senior British politicians will touch on Brexit in what is seen as an attempt to bring Britain closer to the US as the UK’s exit from the European Union looms.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May faced open criticism on her handling of Brexit negotiations from President Trump.

Mr Bolton, the highest ranked official to visit Britain since Mr Johnson took over from Ms May as Britain’s prime minister, had lunch with senior politicians including Brexit supporter and finance minister Sajid Javid on Monday.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, Secretary for Exiting the European Union Steven Barclay, and senior Cabinet member Michael Gove are all expected to meet Mr Bolton on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Johnson met Mr Bolton on Monday and discussed security issues including the latest on Afghanistan.

The US wants reassurances from the UK that the Iran nuclear deal can no longer be revived, although Britain has long held closer to its European allies on Iran sticking to the nuclear deal agreed in 2015.

But the seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz has put pressure on London to consider a tougher stance.

British marines seized an Iranian vessel, which is suspected of smuggling oil to Syria, off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4.

This month, the UK joined the US in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels.

Mr Bolton will also put pressure on the UK to clamp down on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

Britain decided earlier this year to give Huawei access to parts of its new 5G network.

The US security adviser believes Huawei is an arm of the Chinese government and that its hardware could be used to monitor communications through its system.

As Britain lurches towards an ever-increasing possibility of a no deal Brexit on October 31, Mr Bolton could look into the possibilities of a trade agreement between the UK and the US.

According to reports in America, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Ms Truss will discuss several options on a future possible deal including key sectors such as financial services.