PREVIEW - Pompeo Starts Europe Trip For Talks On 5G, Energy Security

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 11th August, 2020) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is starting his visit to a number of European countries, including Poland and Austria, to discuss the alleged threat China poses to 5G networks and energy security, among other issues.

Pompeo last week said he will also visit the Czech Republic and Slovenia during this "very important" five-day trip, which began on Tuesday.

Acting US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker told reporters last week that the security of 5G networks and China's attempts to penetrate them will be high on Pompeo's agenda during the trip.

"That will be something [on the top of the agenda] in each country," Reeker said during a conference call ahead of Pompeo's visit.

Reeker said China's attempts to penetrate 5G networks represent a serious threat to global security and added that Slovenia will be joining the European states that have concluded agreements with the United States on ensuring 5G security.

"We certainly look to the Czech Republic as a partner in regions around the world beyond Europe and the transatlantic area; that includes Afghanistan and Iraq, where they've been steadfast partners, allies, as well as in Syria, where I'd remind you that the Czech Republic serves as the US protecting power," Reeker said.

While in Pilsen, Pompeo will meet with Foreign Minister Petricek to commemorate the liberation of Western Czechoslovakia by the US Army in World War II, State Department deputy spokesperson Cale Brown said last week.

"In Prague, the Secretary will meet with Prime Minister Babis to discuss nuclear energy cooperation, the Three Seas Initiative, and efforts to counter malign actions of Russia and communist China," Brown said. "He will also have a courtesy call with President [Milos] Zeman."

On August 13, Pompeo will visit Ljubljana, Slovenia where he will meet with President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Jansa to talk about nuclear energy and Western Balkan integration, according to Brown.

"The Secretary will also join Prime Minister Jansa for remarks on 5G information security after signing a Joint Declaration on 5G technology with Foreign Minister [Anze] Logar," he added.

Reeker explained last week that Slovenia will sign a US-Slovenia joint declaration on 5G Clean Network security.

"It's basically a broad outline that indicates... this shared view on the importance of secure networks, of clean networks and safe vendors. And that's the way we've been approaching the challenges frankly that we've seen from China in terms of penetration of 5G networks and the threat that that poses to our own security," he said.

On the same day, Pompeo will go to Austria to meet with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, and other senior government officials. Brown revealed that Pompeo will discuss trade and investment relationship, as well as regional security matters during these meeting.

Moreover, while in Vienna, Pompeo will meet with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.

Pompeo's last stop will be in Poland on August 15.

Pompeo will meet with President Andrze Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz to discuss defense ties between the two nations, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, securing 5G networks, and improving regional energy and infrastructure through the Three Seas Initiative, Brown explained.

Reeker said last week that while in Poland, Pompeo will have a chance to discuss the matters related to the troop redeployment.

"In terms of the broader issues of force deployment, I'll have to leave that to DOD. But this does allow the United States and Poland and the whole alliance to focus on allied deterrence and defense along its eastern flank," Reeker added. "That gets to your broader question of Russia, the challenges and threats that Russia poses, and that's what our enhanced forward presence has been about."

Reeker continued to say that energy security will also be high on the agenda during the Poland visit.

US officials have mounted an aggressive effort to dissuade allies from incorporating Chinese technology in the development of their 5G networks.