THE US GOVERNMENT has sent a stark warning to its allies about their use of Huawei technology.
Mike Pomeo, US Secretary of State, has made what could be interpreted as veiled threats against Central European countries that their use of Huawei networking equipment "makes it more difficult for America to be present in those countries."
The remarks were made in a speech in Budapest, Hungary, announcing a defence cooperation deal and where Huawei estimates 70 per cent of Hungarians are online as a direct result of their equipment.
"If that equipment is co-located where we have important American systems, it makes it more difficult for us to partner alongside them," warned Pompeo.
As part of talks with Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szikkarto, Pompeo said he discussed the dangers of "allowing China to gain a bridgehead".
The hearts and minds tour by Pompeo also takes in Slovakia and Poland, as the superpower tries to make up for what some perceive as neglect of Central Europe.
Poland knows better than most about Huawei. The company is one of the growing number said to be considering an outright ban of the company from its 5G network infrastructure, but that's just the beginning.
Last month, the country's director of sales at Huawei was arrested along with a senior Polish security official on charges of espionage.
It's not thought that the charges relate directly to Huawei itself and the employee's tenure was immediately terminated.
Huawei, meanwhile, has said that it would be open to supervision to install its equipment in the EU, in the hope it will put minds at rest.
The UK is yet to make a formal decision about the use of Huawei technology, but the country's main telecoms provider, BT has already said that it will not be using it for 5G and plans to retroactively remove existing Huawei products from its existing 4G network. μ
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