News2020.02.28 14:00

Latvia signs 5G declaration with US to sideline China 2020.02.28 14:00

Riga and Washington on Thursday signed a joint declaration on 5G security aimed at limiting the Latvian market to Chinese companies.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs met with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington for the signing ceremony, according to the Latvian public broadcaster LSM.

Read more: Baltics caught between superpowers in China's 5G battle – Investigation

The joint statement published by the US State Department emphasised the need to “protect communications networks from disruption or manipulation and ensuring the privacy and individual liberties”.

The two countries called to properly vet suppliers of the new 5G technology to ensure the equipment is free of interference by foreign governments.

Washington says Huawei technology is unsafe and is calling on allies to follow its lead and ban the Chinese company from contracts to build 5G infrastructure.

The US has allegedly pressured the Lithuanian prime minister “to take action against Huawei, saying the company's 5G equipment could create a vulnerability for allied troops,” Reuters reported in May last year.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said in June 2019 that decisions on the use of Huawei have to be made at the NATO and EU level.

The annual threat assessment published by the Lithuanian intelligence services said the risks associated with Huawei remain unchanged.

“Let me remind you that, in 2019, we recommended to exclude risky companies like Huawei from sectors of special importance and infrastructure,” Remigijus Baltrėnas, the chief of Lithuania’s military intelligence, told reporters earlier in February.

The joint declaration signed by Latvia and the US on Thursday welcomed the EU efforts “toward developing a common approach to 5G network security”.

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