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Pence praises Poland actions on Huawei as US pressure mounts

WARSAW (Reuters) – the U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence praised Poland on Wednesday for his efforts for “the protection of the telecommunications sector of China”, as part of a concerted pressure from the United States to convince its allies to join tech giant Huawei telecom projects.

The AMERICAN Vice-President Mike Pence and Polish President Andrzej Duda shake hands during a joint press conference at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw, Poland, 13 February 2019. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Fed by the fear that Huawei products can be used for espionage by China, Pence and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have pointed out the dangers of the cooperation with the Chinese company during performances in Poland and central European neighbors this week.

Huawei has repeatedly denied that the products can be used for espionage.

“We need to continue to work, so that all investment review mechanisms for the protection of vital security and economic infrastructure of the future,” Pence said during a joint press conference in Warsaw with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

In January, Poland arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a former Polish security official on espionage allegations.

The Polish government is also taken into account with the exception of Huawei equipment of the future 5G network, sources told Reuters.

“The recent action the government has taken against a Huawei executive, and a Polish national accused of collaboration with him, show that you the government the obligation to ensure that our telecommunications sector is not compromised in a way that poses a threat to our national security,” Pence said.

The comments came as Poland tries to convince the United States to increase its military presence in the country.

The number of AMERICAN troops in Poland is capped at 4500, but it fluctuates so formations rotate.

Poland, alarmed by the Russian assertiveness of NATO on the eastern flank, has loudly lobbied for the deployment of NATO troops on the ground, especially since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Duda said the AMERICAN President Donald Trump in September on a trip to Washington that he would be willing to commit more than $2 billion to help facilitate the construction of a permanent AMERICAN base on Polish soil.

IN THE RACE

In austria, the technology ministry and the prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel both said on Wednesday that an EU-wide agreement is needed on the question of whether Huawei should be allowed to take part in the building 5G networks in the block.

The European Commission is considering a de facto ban on Huawei’s 5G network equipment due to security concerns.

But some European countries are reluctant to follow U.S. requirements straight away, and Huawei is determined to stay in the race for lucrative infrastructure projects.

The company is ready to take additional security measures are necessary to compete to develop the next-generation 5G networks in central and eastern Europe, Andy Purdy, chief security officer at Huawei Technologies USA told Reuters on Wednesday.

“The U.S. government is very persistent, very determined and very powerful in communicating the messages about Huawei,” Sammy said in an interview.

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He also said that Huawei is ready to work with the Polish government on additional measures to build trust.

The company has not yet seen a slowdown in the activities in Poland, the company’s senior standards manager in Europe said on Wednesday.

“We do not see a decline in sales to Huawei equipment here … but if the situation continues, and at some point will impact our business”, Georg Mayer told a news conference in Warsaw.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska, Anna Buyer and Lesley Wroughton in Warsaw, Idrees Ali in Brussels, Writing by Alan Charlish and Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Susan Fenton and Catherine Evans

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