Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš remotely signed a declaration with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which states that the U.S. and the Czech Republic will cooperate in finding suppliers for 5G networks.
However, Babiš and Pompeo had to speak over the phone due to the coronavirus crisis instead of attending the conference on the development of 5G networks, which was to be held this Tuesday and Wednesday at the Prague National Museum, and where Pompeo was supposed to be the main speaker.
“The declaration aims to build joint forces of 5G networks that will be protected against unauthorized access and potential attacks. They are to ensure privacy and protection of fundamental rights of citizens,” wrote the Czech Government Office about the document.
According to the signatories, the process of selecting trusted suppliers will contribute to national security and will be an opportunity for further developments and innovations in the private sector.
Both countries also supported further discussions on 5G security within NATO.
Spoke with Czech Prime Minister @AndrejBabis to adopt a Joint Declaration on #5G Security. Today, we remember the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Western Czechoslovakia by U.S. and Allied forces. With our Czech Allies we confront threats to our collective security.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 6, 2020
During the phone call, Babiš allegedly stated that the Prague conference on 5G, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, might take place in September instead.
Currently, the Czech Republic is preparing a 5G frequencies auction, which could be launched in the middle of the year. Among the companies that could supply hardware and software for 5G networks are also the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, however, in December 2018, the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB) identified them as a security risk. The Senate later asked the government to clarify its position on including Huawei and ZTE in the implementation of 5G networks in the Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has accused Huawei of stealing technology and conducting espionage for Beijing.
While the company has denied the accusation, last May, Washington decided to blacklist Huawei. However, Reuters yesterday reported that the U.S. Department of Commerce is preparing new rules that will allow U.S. companies to work with Huawei to set standards for 5G networks.