Poland is joining the U.S. in pressing its NATO allies to coordinate efforts to address security challenges from China after Friday’s arrest of two men on charges of spying for Beijing.
Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski on Saturday echoed U.S. exhortations of allies to exclude Huawei Technologies Co., and other Chinese hardware makers from their telecommunications systems.
Washington has effectively banned Chinese equipment from major U.S. telecom networks and is pressing allies to do the same, senior American officials have said. Poland has closely allied itself with U.S. security positions on a range of issues and is among Washington’s most ardent supporters inside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Poland’s Internal Security Agency on Friday detained a Chinese national employed by Huawei and a Polish citizen previously employed by the Polish intelligence service on allegations of espionage. Polish officials said Huawei itself wasn’t charged with any wrongdoing. Huawei on Saturday said it had fired the employee, Wang Weijing, its Polish sales director, and that his alleged actions “have no relation to the company.”
Still, the case has elevated existing anxieties within Europe over pervasive equipment from China’s aggressive and extremely competitive global players. Many European governments are assessing their use of Chinese network equipment, the European Union has tightened rules on foreign investment in a bid to block Chinese acquisitions of critical European technologies and EU officials have warned of threats from Chinese tech giants.
EU tech commissioner Anders Ansip said in December, “I think we have to be worried about those companies.” Huawei said in response: “We categorically reject any allegation that we might pose a security threat.”
Poland’s Mr. Brudzinski pushed the concerns into a new area on Saturday, telling broadcaster RMF FM, “There are concerns about Huawei within NATO as well. It would make most sense to have a joint stance among EU member states and NATO members.”
NATO has increased its cyber defenses and preparations for cyberwar over the past decade. In November, NATO staged a cyber wargame, Cyber Coalition 2018, which it described as one of the biggest cyber exercises ever. NATO doesn’t have its own cyberweapons, but at a summit in July leaders agreed to establish a new Cyberspace Operations Center and the alliance can tap capabilities of its 28 members.
“We will integrate national cyber capabilities into NATO operations,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in October.
Wall Street Journal