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UK's Boris Johnson takes selfie with Huawei phone after hinting at ban

The British prime minister gives Huawei some unexpected publicity on daytime TV.

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- 01:57
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Boris Johnson using a Huawei P20 Pro.

Screenshot by Katie Collins/CNET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was spotted taking a selfie with a Huawei phone Thursday, just a day after hinting that the UK would comply with the US stance and ban Huawei technology from Britain's telecommunications infrastructure.

Johnson appeared on ITV show This Morning to talk about the upcoming election and Brexit, after which cameras captured him posing with presenters to take a selfie with a Huawei P20 Pro, a shot he then posted on Instagram. The phone was first spotted by Press Association.

"Just as we came off air, he whipped his phone out and took a selfie," said presenter Holly Willoughby, in the segment of the show following the interview. A representative for the prime minister later denied that the phone belonged to Johnson.

A representative for Huawei declined to comment.

The unexpected publicity for Huawei occurred just one day after Johnson appeared at a NATO summit where he suggested the country could comply with the US stance on Huawei by banning its technology from being incorporated into the UK's 5G telecoms infrastructure. US officials have repeatedly suggested that if Britain and other allies don't mimic the country's position on Huawei, it'll reassess intelligence-sharing agreements.

Over the past two years, the US has taken an increasingly tough stance on the Chinese tech giant over cited national security concerns. It has banned the company from providing telecommunications equipment and selling its phones in the US and is even attempting to extradite Huawei's CFO, who's currently under house arrest in China. Australia and New Zealand have already followed the US' lead.

Meanwhile, Canada and European countries have been more circumspect. Huawei's phones are still on sale across much of Europe, including in the UK, and the country is still debating whether Huawei equipment should continue to be incorporated into Britain's telecoms infrastructure. The UK has delayed making a final call on the matter until after the country's general election on Dec. 12.

Huawei's phones continue to be popular across the UK and Europe, with its P30 Pro and Mate 30 providing high-end alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10, as well as Apple's iPhones.