Germany, U.S. Take Different Positions on Huawei, Iran During Pompeo Visit

State Secretary Mike Pompeo and his German counterpart Heiko Maas made clear their differing views on the security risks posed by Huawei and Iran during Pompeo‘s visit to Berlin on Friday, The Local reported.

While the secretary of state said it was risky to allow the Chinese telecommunications giant to build infrastructure for 5G high-speed data networks, Maas said that Germany had “high security standards.”

Any company found not to comply with these standards would be excluded from bidding to build Germany’s 5G network, Maas said without naming Huawei.

Washington is pressuring its allies, including Germany, to exclude the Chinese firm from involvement in the roll-out of the high-speed internet infrastructure, saying the firm poses a security risk.

The U.S. fears Beijing could use Huawei-based infrastructure for espionage purposes.

Pompeo said that Washington wanted to ensure that data networks into which U.S. information flowed were safe, and that China threatened the national security of the U.S, Europe and democracies worldwide.

He also repeated a veiled threat that the U.S. might decline to share intelligence with countries that are potentially compromised due to their use of networks based on Chinese technology.

Pompeo warned there was a risk the U.S. would have to change its behaviour “in light of the fact that we can’t permit private citizen data from the United States or national security data from the United States to go across networks… that we don’t view as trusted.”

On Iran, Maas said that Germany had “the same goals” but “different approaches” from the U.S. Both wanted to deter Iran from the acquisition of nuclear weapons and expect Tehran to answer questions about its ballistic missile program.

Germany is trying to rescue the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal – which aimed to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons – while the U.S, no longer a party to the agreement, is putting pressure on Tehran through economic sanctions.

The top U.S. diplomat also met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, three weeks after abruptly postponing his first visit to Germany since he took up his post, interpreted by some as a snub. Despite the transatlantic partners’ various sources of disagreement, Merkel and Pompeo also hit conciliatory notes.

Merkel said the U.S. continues to be Germany’s “most important partner outside of Europe,” while Pompeo expressed regret over the cancellation over his originally scheduled trip.

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