US, Slovenia sign joint declaration on 5G security

Photo: EPA Slovenian PM Janez Jansa (L) and FM Anze Logar (2-L) welcome US State Secretary Mike Pompeo (R) at the Villa Bled in Bled, Slovenia, 13 August.

During his one-day visit to Slovenia on Thursday the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put on focus the case for high-speed wireless networks that bar Chinese companies like Huawei. On the second leg of a four-nation tour of central and eastern Europe, he met Slovenian officials in the mountain lake town of Bled. Pompeo is to sign a joint declaration on “5G Clean Network Security” that aims to keep untrusted telecommunications vendors out, news wires reported. The declaration will commit “to protecting the privacy and individual liberties of the citizens of the US and Slovenia.”

Pompeo has led a US campaign across Europe and elsewhere against Huawei and other Chinese companies that the Trump administration accuses of sharing data with China’s security apparatus.

Slovenia, a NATO ally, has been a willing partner in the effort and last month signed and rolled out a nationwide commercial 5G network with the Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson.

Besides the 5G declaration, Pompeo will be discussing energy security with Slovenia’s president and prime minister.

Pompeo arrived in Slovenia from the Czech Republic, where he called upon the young democracies in the region to embrace hard-won freedoms and counter threats from Russia and particularly China, which he said was in many ways more dangerous than the former Soviet Union. “The CCP is already enmeshed in our economies, in our politics, in our societies in ways the Soviet Union never was,” he told Czech lawmakers, referring to the Chinese Communist Party. Pompeo, however, said that “even more of a threat is the Chinese Communist Party and its campaigns of coercion and control.”“In your country alone,” he said, “we see influence campaigns against your politicians and security forces, the theft of industrial data that you have created through your innovation and creativity, and we’ve seen the use of economic leverage to stifle freedom itself.”

China has accused the United States of “oppressing Chinese companies” through its declarations about telecom equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE being national security threats.

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