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Bulgaria, N. Macedonia, Kosovo sign 5G security agreements with U.S.

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Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Kosovo have all declared in agreements with the United States that say they’ll aim to safeguard their developing 5G wireless networks from Chinese-government influence, welcoming them into what the U.S. calls its “Clean Network” initiative. The mission of this initiative is to ensure that reliable, trustworthy companies help to develop and construct 5G networks.

“With today’s historic signing of a 5G security memorandum,” tweeted the U.S. Embassy in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, “Bulgaria has joined the Clean Network, and joins a growing coalition of countries and companies committed to protecting their 5G networks from untrusted vendors.”

This initiative seeks to get rid of “long-term threats to data privacy, security and human rights posed to the free world from authoritarian malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party,” said the US Department of State, Deutsche Welle and Radio Free Europe have reported.

This follows another European country, Sweden, this past month announcing that it would not offer 5G network contracts to entities which use services and products from the Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE, which many nations consider as being under the influence of China’s authoritarian regime led by the Chinese Communist Party.

RELATED: Sweden is banning Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks

If they were to give such companies access to their 5G networks, many countries believe that it will make it easy for the Chinese government to conduct espionage via those networks on citizens, companies, and government entities and officials.

Prior to Sweden, the U.S. and the United Kingdom both led the charge earlier this year in banning Huawei from their networks. The U.S. has especially been trying to persuade its allies to follow suit.

Currently, the European Union is divided about what exact measures to take as many of its member states have joined the “Clean Network” initiative. These other countries, aside from Sweden, include: Romania, Greece, the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Denmark, and Latvia.

The leader of Bulgaria was especially thrilled when announcing the news of this agreement.

“Bulgaria and the U.S. are allies and strategic partners!” tweeted Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. “We discussed our economic cooperation with @KeithJKrach and later Bulgaria and the U.S. signed key documents in the field of the security of 5G networks and the nuclear energy for civilian purposes.”

Stevo Pendarovski, the President of North Macedonia, was more even-keeled but positive nonetheless.

“Given the advantages of 5G generation wireless communication,” he tweeted, “this memorandum of cooperation is vital for the future prosperity of our country from an economic point of view, as well as for national security.”

The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, has yet to tweet about the agreement.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Rejecting Détente Offer, China Throws Shade at Taiwan’s New President

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Follow Steve Postal: @HebraicMosaic

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China’s propaganda machine has responded to Taiwan President Lai Ching-te’s inauguration address, which was conciliatory to the mainland, with belligerence. Rather than accepting Lai’s olive branch of détente based on mutual respect, China used Lai’s inauguration speech to slander the new president, claim that he does not have the mandate of his own people, and threaten to use force on the island.

China Slanders Taiwan’s New President

China reacted to Lai’s inauguration speech by slandering the new Taiwanese president. A Global Times article asserted that Lai “wants to deceive Taiwan residents,” and is “malicious.” Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, stated that Lai has “an extremely arrogant attitude and more radical views,” and that Lai’s inauguration speech was “[f]ull of hostility and provocation and made up of lies and deception,” according to another Global Times article. Similarly, Zhu Fenglian, another spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, called Lai’s actions “vile,” according to a third Global Times article. A China Daily editorial labelled him a “diehard separatist, ” while another China Daily editorial called Lai’s quest for Taiwan’s independence an “evil pursuit.”

China Claims Lai Doesn’t Speak for the People of Taiwan

Despite Lai winning Taiwan’s democratic election, China portrayed Lai as going against the will of his people. Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for the China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, called Lai is  “a traitor to mainstream public opinion on the island and a disruptor of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” according to Global Times. Zhu Fenglian, another spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, stated that “insightful individuals in Taiwan have expressed deep concern” about Lai, “reflecting the shared sentiments of the majority of Taiwan compatriots,” and that Lai’s colleagues in the DPP party are “in fact very insecure and fear that compatriots on both sides of the Straits will come closer together,” according to Global Times.

China Threatens to Use Force on Taiwan

China also responded to Lai’s inaugural speech by issuing threats and not-so-veiled threats to use force against Taiwan. One Global Times article stated that “Lai’s ‘Taiwan independence’ remarks are playing with fire, and those who play with fire will be bound to get themselves burned.” According to China Daily, the naval exercises conducted around Taiwan by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from May 23-24 in response to Lai’s speech were “legitimate countermeasures” that send “a clear message that [the PLA] will prevent ‘Taiwan independence’ at all costs.” Another China Daily article stated that the Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun “…left no one in any doubt that should it prove necessary Beijing will not hesitate to use force to quash any bid to divide the nation. Calling the separatists’ pursuit of ‘independence’ an act of self-destruction, he stated unequivocally that ‘Whoever dares to sever Taiwan from China will be crushed.’”

Another Global Times article maintained that “[t]he actions of the Lai authorities will definitely invite lessons and countermeasures from the mainland” and that “[i]f Lai tries to escalate tensions in the coming years, the mainland will respond and use all available tools to make the Taiwan authorities pay a heavy price.” A third Global Times article, quoting “analysts” stated that “the pursuit of ‘Taiwan independence’ is a futile endeavor that will lead to detrimental and calamitous consequences for Taiwan island.”

Rather than accepting Lai’s reasonable offer to resume cordial relations based on mutual respect, China has chosen to ratchet up its propaganda attacks against the island. As China continues to beat the drums of war, will Taiwan hold the line?

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