Mike Pompeo says Huawei presence complicates partnership with US

Elias Hubbard
February 12, 2019

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo's quest to scare Hungary away from dealing with Russian Federation and China appears to have turned sour, as Budapest said it's fed up with lectures about its foreign policy.

Pompeo is to meet in Budapest on Monday with Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban to stress the importance of promoting democracy and the rule of law.

The United States and its Western allies believe Huawei Technologies' apparatus could be used for espionage, and see its expansion into central Europe as a way to gain a foothold in the European Union market.

"They are a sovereign nation", Pompeo said of Hungary. "They get to make their own decisions with respect to these things", Pompeo told reporters at an impromptu news conference at the US Embassy in Budapest.

Pompeo is on a five-day massive charm offensive in Eastern Europe seeking to "make up" for the time the United States "shunned" the nations of the region "in a way that drove them to fill a vacuum with folks who didn't share our values", as he himself put it. "But second, we have seen this all around the world".

"It also makes it more hard for America to be present", Pompeo said. That is, if that equipment is co-located where we have important American systems, it makes it more hard for us to partner alongside them. "If that equipment is co-located where we have important American systems, it makes it more hard for us to partner alongside them".

The U.S. has repeatedly accused China of using technology to pilfer trade secrets. "For every missing child there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine", Orban said in his annual state of the nation address on Sunday, as cited by Reuters.

Pompeo's tour includes a conference on the Middle East, hosted by Poland, where Washington hopes to build a coalition against Iran. He will wrap up the tour with brief stops in Belgium and Iceland.

The goal of his trip is to address the growing influence of Russian Federation and China in Central Europe. "Migration for us is surrender".

Orban, who has taken a hardline "zero tolerance" approach toward immigration, said the new initiatives are meant to "ensure the survival of the Hungarian nation".

Pompeo put the blame for much of the backsliding on a lack of USA engagement.

The US is spearheading a drive to ban or restrict the engagement of Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE in the West following the company's alleged espionage activities in Poland.

He said the U.S. would continue to take "more action, continue our investigation", and would continue to hold accountable all those responsible for the murder.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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