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In Slovenia Pompeo pushes 5G security, warns about China

BLED, Slovenia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Slovenia on Thursday to make the case for high-speed wireless networks that bar Chinese companies like Huawei.

On the second leg of a four-nation tour of central and eastern Europe, Pompeo met with Slovenian officials in the mountain lake town of Bled and signed a joint declaration on “5G Clean Network Security” that aims to keep untrusted telecommunications vendors out of Slovenia.

“Free nations must work together to confront authoritarian threats,” he said. “It is absolutely critical that every nation makes a good sovereign decision about how the private information of its citizens is going to be handled.”

Pompeo has led a U.S. campaign across Europe and elsewhere against Huawei and other Chinese companies that the Trump administration accuses of sharing sensitive data and personal information with China’s security apparatus. The campaign has had mixed results, but NATO ally Slovenia is on board.

“Protecting communications networks from disruption or manipulation, and ensuring the privacy and individual liberties of the citizens of the United States and Slovenia are vital to ensuring that our people are able to take advantage of the tremendous economic opportunities 5G will enable,” the declaration says. Slovenia last month rolled out a nationwide commercial 5G network with the Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson, which Pompeo and other U.S. officials frequently mention as a “trusted” alternative to Huawei.

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