US and Poland sign cooperation agreement on 5G networks

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WARSAW – The United States and Poland signed a cooperation agreement on 5G networks on Monday amid growing concern over China’s telecommunications giant Huawei.

US Vice President Mike Pence and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki signed the deal in Warsaw, where Pence is replacing President Donald Trump, who canceled his trip at the last minute because of Hurricane Dorian.

The cooperation comes during a global battle between the US and Huawei, the world’s largest maker of network infrastructure equipment, over alleged security breaches and its link with the Chinese government.

The US-Poland agreement states: “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.”

Both countries have pledged to endorse the principles that will be developed by cyber security officials from dozens of countries at a summit to be held in Prague this year to combat threats and secure the security of the next generation of mobile networks.

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Pence, speaking at a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, said he hoped the statement would set a vital example for the rest of Europe on the broader 5G issue.

The US has been pushing its allies to ban Huawei from participating in 5G networks because of concerns that the Chinese government might force the company to give access to cyber espionage data. Huawei denies the allegation, and European states – where countries are preparing to roll out new networks, starting with the radio frequency auction this year – have vetoed US requests for a total ban from the Chinese manufacturer.

As Reuters notes, Huawei has a strong presence in Poland. But in January, authorities arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a former Polish security official on spying allegations. Huawei denied the charges, but it has remained under scrutiny.

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