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China Says US Bullied Cyprus Not to Use Chinese Firms 5G Network

Αssociated Press

People wearing face masks to protect from coronavirus, walk at Ledra street a main shopping street in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA -- China's Embassy in Cyprus said the United States pressured the government in Nicosia not to use Chinese 5G networks being pushed around the world by the companies Huawei and ZTE which American accuses of being a government spy outfit.

“China fully believes that the international community can see the true colours of certain US politicians. Countries should “say ‘no’ to the US practice of bullying and interfering” in the development and construction of their 5G networks, it said, the South China Morning Post reported.

That came after US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach and Cypriot Deputy Ministry of Research Innovation and Digital Policy Kyriacos Kokkinos confirmed Cyprus had acceded to the US.

“You are in good company now,” Krach said at the signing ceremony, according to a transcript of the meeting published by the US embassy in Cyprus, the site said of American attempts to further prevent Chinese 5G networks from spreading.

“Thirty-five European nations, including 25 of the EU nations, are members of the Clean Network. There is strength in numbers and power in unity and solidarity,” he said.

In a separate interview with Cyprus News Agency, Krach warned Cyprus – after the US partially lifted an arms embargo - against working with Chinese technology firms, saying they could turn sensitive information over to the Communist Party or military.

Krach said that Cyprus and other European Union nations were growing closer on issues like 5G security, and warned that countries like China and Russia were seeking to “exploit our greater interconnectivity and our freedoms,” the report added.

The US State Department's website described Clean Network as a “comprehensive approach to guarding our citizens’ privacy and our companies’ most sensitive information from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party.”

With the Trump Administration going after China in the run-up to the Presidential election Nov. 3, Krach visited Europe and North Africa in a further attempt to keep Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE from gaining footholds.

Before arriving in Nicosia, Krach visited Estonia, which banned Huawei

from its networks earlier this month. After Cyprus, he flew to Egypt where he also appealed to leaders to join the Clean Network scheme.

Sweden also banned both Chinese companies from building its next-generation telecommunications networks there too.