Huawei Technologies was barred from sponsoring a defense summit in NATO member Slovakia after the country’s president briefly canceled a speech over concerns the Chinese telecommunication company posed a security risk.
President Zuzana Caputova’s refusal to speak at the conference hosted by the Bratislava-based Globsec think tank is a victory for the U.S., which has been exhorting its allies to block Chinese companies from technology projects, including nuclear plants and 5G networks.
Caputova canceled a speech she was due to give on Wednesday at the event, according to her spokesman, Martin Strizinec. Globsec then ended the sponsorship with Huawei, however, and she reverted to the original plan.
“The president sees speaking at a conference with such a company among sponsors as a bad signal,” Strizinec said by email. “For her, it isn’t only an issue of security, but also of principles and values.”
A spokeswoman for Huawei’s Slovak unit declined to immediately comment when reached by phone.
The decision follows a tour of Europe by US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, who pressed Washington’s allies to shun Russian and Chinese companies’ efforts to take part in technological projects.
In August, Slovenia signed a declaration on 5G security, agreeing to guard its networks in a way that could block Huawei from taking part. Fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organization members Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Latvia and Estonia signed similar statements with the U.S. last year to block access to companies that might be subject to foreign state interference.
Globsec has withdrawn from the sponsorship pact with Huawei, the Bratislava-based think tank said on its website, adding that neither Huawei nor any other partner has any influence over the content of the conference or research.