News

 

President slams security agencies over “campaign” against Huawei

 
photo:  (radio.cz)
 

The president has lashed out at Czech security agencies that have identified Chinese-made Huawei products as a threat. Miloš Zeman says this has harmed the Czech Republic’s economic interests – and payback from Beijing will hit some of the country’s biggest companies.

 
 

In December the National Cyber and Security Information Agency issued a security alert in connection with Huawei products.

Soon afterwards Prime Minister Andrej Babiš ordered the Office of the Government to cease using mobile phones produced by the Chinese firm.

Earlier this week Mr. Babiš instructed many of the country’s key public and private organisations to look into whether using products made by Huawei or a second Chinese company, ZTE, did not leave them open to attack.

Now President Miloš Zeman, who has fostered close relations with Beijing in recent years, has entered the fray.

In an interview on TV Barrandov, he accused the directors of the cyber watchdog agency and the BIS counterintelligence service, by name, of seriously endangering Czech economic interests.

This they had done, he said, without offering any proof of a threat.

“According to information that some ministers possess, and others do not, China is preparing retaliatory measures in the wake of this campaign against the company Huawei. And these will be felt in several areas.”

Specifically, Mr. Zeman said this would affect carmaker Škoda Auto, which had agreed major investment deals in China, and O2 owner PPF’s planned collaboration with Huawei on rolling out a 5G network in the Czech Republic.

Speaking on Friday, Prime Minister Babiš played down suggestions his cabinet was expecting Chinese retaliation – but appeared to back the president on the issue of evidence.

“One minister told us he had a meeting from which it could follow that, in theory, there could be a problem. But we didn’t get any official statement. The National Cyber and Security Information Agency issued a warning before informing us about it. Unfortunately they didn’t provide any proof for their claims.”

Meanwhile, critics have accused Mr. Zeman of undermining the country’s intelligence services. Among them is Senate speaker Jaroslav Kubera of the Civic Democrats.

“I said this before when the president cast doubt on the work of the secret services – this just isn’t done. These things are unnecessary, but it’s not just the president. It’s a problem of the whole of society – such scandals are damaging.”

Meanwhile, TOP 09 leader Jiří Pospíšil has accused Mr. Zeman of acting as if he himself were the Chinese ambassador or a Chinese trade representative.

Other opposition figures say it is not the first time the Czech head of state has employed the possible loss of business with the world’s most populous state as a threat.

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 11.01.2019
 
 
 

Related articles

 
News
 
 

Respekt: Czech intelligence uncovered...

Respekt has just published a story which provides more detail on a recent successful intelligence...

 
 
News
 
 

20 Years of Czechia in NATO: Key...

Czechs are looking back at 20 years in NATO. Their country joined the Alliance together with Hungary and...

 
 
News
 
 

Foreign minister hands out medals of...

At a ceremony marking the Czech Republic’s entry to NATO twenty years ago, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš...

 
 
News
 
 

Czech leaders highlight range of...

At Prague Castle on Tuesday senior Czech politicians addressed a ceremony marking exactly 20 years of the...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity