January 30, 2019 / 2:02 PM / 7 months ago

Slovakia has no evidence of Huawei security threat - prime minister

Slovakia's Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini speaks during a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Slovakia does not consider Chinese telecoms supplier Huawei as a security threat and would need evidence the company’s technology poses a risk before imposing any restrictions, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said on Wednesday.

Huawei faces international scrutiny over its ties with the Chinese government and allegations that Beijing could use Huawei’s technology for spying, which the company denies.

Europe has become the latest focus for action against Huawei after Poland arrested a Huawei employee on suspicion of spying and Germany is debating whether to follow the United States and allies like Australia in restricting the company’s technology from next-generation mobile networks.

Huawei has also been excluded from a Czech tender to build a tax portal after the country’s cyber watchdog warned of possible security threats.

Pellegrini was asked a news conference on Wednesday whether he saw Huawei as a security threat following the Czech action.

“We don’t have any official information from Slovakia’s security forces that would give evidence that this company poses a specific security threat,” Pellegrini told reporters.

“If we want to talk about cyber security, we should talk about all companies and not single out one of them.”

Slovak watchdogs and the country’s National Security Authority have not issued a similar warning to that of neighboring Czech Republic, and the prime minister said Slovakia would take its time before acting.

“The politicians should be careful not to become a tool in a trade war or fight between competitors,” Pellegrini said. “We should not make hasty decisions.”

Reporting By Tatiana Jancarikova, Editing by Michael Kahn and Jane Merriman

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