Amid what’s become a global showdown of sorts between the US and Huawei, the US and Poland on Monday inked a new deal to cooperate on new 5G technology which could eventually lead to a ban on China’s Huawei from the East European country. The agreement puts in place a “careful and complete evaluation” of any companies seeking to install 5G components and software:
“We believe that all countries must ensure that only trusted and reliable suppliers participate in our networks to protect them from unauthorized access or interference.”
Vice President Mike Pence signed the deal in place of President Trump — who cancelled the planned trip over the Hurricane Dorian emergency — with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, as part of continuing efforts at keeping Huawei out of Europe over fears it’s using its advanced 5G networks to enable Chinese state spying.
“Protecting these next generation communications networks from disruption or manipulation and ensuring the privacy and individual liberties of the citizens of the United States, Poland, and other countries is of vital importance,” the agreement states.
Pence said the US-Poland deal would “set a vital example for the rest of Europe,” where the Chinese telecom giant has been making steady headway, especially in markets in Central and Eastern Europe. The US has been pressuring its European allies to ban Huawei, citing a track record of government and corporate espionage and cyber spying.
Pence also used the occasion to take aim at Russia and its alleged election meddling in the West. “With its efforts to meddle in elections across Europe and around the world, now is the time for us to remain vigilant about the intentions and the actions being taken by Russia,” Pence said while addressing a press conference alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Poland is reportedly in talks with Swedish telecom company Ericsson to bring 5G development to Poland. Earlier this year Pence had praised Warsaw for “protecting the telecoms sector from China”.
This also comes after earlier this year Polish authorities arrested a Huawei sales director who they alleged spied for the Chinese government, after which the worker was fired by the Chinese company and Polish officials stopped short of taking legal action against Huawei itself.