Pompeo to counter China and Russia influence in central Europe

Prague, Aug 11 (efe-epa).- Mike Pompeo arrived in Prague on Tuesday on a five-day tour of central Europe in a bid to counteract the influence of Russia and China in the region.

The United States secretary of state landed at Vaclav Havel airport in the Czech Republic capital on Tuesday, according to Czech public television.

He will stay in the Czech Republic Tuesday and Wednesday, then travel to Slovenia on Thursday, Austria on Friday, and will close the tour in Poland on Saturday.

“The United States and the Czech Republic are working together to address common challenges, including countering disinformation and ensuring that technology and investment flows do not raise national security risks,” the state department said in its tour factsheet.

Pompeo will attend a commemoration event on Tuesday to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Pilsen, a city liberated by American troops.

He will also meet Czech foreign minister Tomas Petricek in the city, around 75 kilometers west of Prague.

Pompeo is due to meet with Czech head of state Milos Zeman and prime minister Andrej Babis on Wednesday.

Ambassador Philip Reeker, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said at a telephone press conference that both Russian and Chinese energy influence will be a key issue on the central European tour.

The US wants to help find alternative sources of gas and oil from Russia, the main supplier to the region, so that Moscow does not have that control, according to Reeker.

In the case of China, the expansion of 5G technology with the participation of Chinese companies, such as Huawei, is a major concern for Washington.

Reeker said the US is concerned about the risks posed by Chinese infiltration of high-tech networks, especially 5G.

Prague and Washington signed a joint declaration in May on 5G security which described protecting communications networks from disruption or manipulation as vital to ensuring the privacy and individual liberties of the citizens of both nations. EFE-EPA


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