Pompeo warns eastern Europe on Chinese and Russian meddling

Pompeo warns eastern Europe on Chinese and Russian meddling

Pompeo warns eastern Europe on Chinese and Russian meddling

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday visited Slovakia on the latest stop on a Central European tour aimed at curbing the growing influence of Russian Federation and China.

But the top US diplomat is making push-back against Huawei a key theme of his trip to Europe this week, with additional stops in Poland, Slovakia, Belgium and Iceland.

He said: "When it comes to co-operation with Russian Federation or co-operation with the People's Republic of China that does not harm us being reliable as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally".

During the presser, Pompeo warned Hungary not to deploy equipment provided by Huawei, the world's biggest maker of telecoms equipment.

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Szijjarto welcomed Pompeo's calls for closer ties, but also brushed off the criticism on relations with Russian Federation and China. He will wrap up the tour with brief stops in Belgium and Iceland.

The fear, said Pompeo, was that countries who rely heavily on Huawei gear are likely to be bugged by Chinese intelligence services.

"This is Hungarians' answer, not immigration", said Orban, who was elected to a third consecutive term in April.

Hungary is the first stop in a trip by Pompeo to central Europe that also includes Slovakia and Poland and is part of what administration officials say is an effort to make up for a lack of USA engagement in the region that opened the door to more Chinese and Russian influence.

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China has said the United States is just trying to suppress a rising competitor.

President Donald Trump's administration has made a point of reaching out to Orban, who shares Trump's strong stance on limiting migration and has adopted increasingly authoritarian measures, including cracking down on the opposition, labor unions, independent media and academia.

President Barack Obama's administration had largely steered clear of Orban, who won a third consecutive term past year in a campaign based on anti-immigration policies and whose policies have been met with street protests and deepening concern within the EU. "We must recommit to our values again and again and again generation after generation to ensure that they live on". Some of their groups have been targeted by legislation making their work more hard, like a tax on funds received from overseas and the possible jail time for those convicted of aiding asylum seekers.

Opposition leaders said the fines, which can not be challenged in Hungarian courts, were politically motivated and meant to hinder their campaigns for the European Parliament and municipal elections later this year. His fiery rhetoric against migrants and refusal to join a new European Union public prosecutor's office focusing on fraud and corruption also have raised concerns.

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