Trump Turning More Countries in Europe Against Huawei

Trump Turning More Countries in Europe Against Huawei

Slovakia joins other Eastern European countries signing declarations with Washington aimed at keeping China out of critical infrastructure.

The Trump administration has signed a raft of bilateral declarations with countries in Central and Eastern Europe aimed at rolling back Chinese influence in cutting-edge 5G telecommunications infrastructure, notching an important eleventh-hour success for an administration that has sought to counter Beijing’s growing global influence.

In the past week, the State Department announced that it had clinched agreements with Slovakia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bulgaria on high-speed wireless network technology. The memorandums make no explicit mention of other countries, but they stress that any new 5G systems should take into account whether the network suppliers are subject “to control by a foreign government,” taking indirect aim at Chinese telecoms giants like Huawei and ZTE that are building up 5G infrastructure all over the world, including in Europe.

During a visit to Washington, Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok said in an interview that the memorandum with the United States “is fully consistent with our own national effort to do everything that is needed to make sure that 5G will be secure.”

“Everybody’s aware of all the risks involved,” he said. “And we don’t want to see any backdoor players coming in unless we know and decide that on [the] national level.”