- The Washington Times - Friday, August 30, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence and Poland are expected to announce a “strong agreement” on securing 5th-generation cellular networks during Mr. Pence’s overseas trip this weekend, the White House said Friday, signaling headway in the administration’s efforts to move allies away from Chinese telecom companies.

Mr. Pence is heading to Warsaw on Saturday instead of President Trump, who decided to stay in the U.S. to monitor Hurricane Dorian.

The vice president and leaders from 40 countries are gathering in Poland to mark the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II there in 1939, when Germany invaded, though a senior administration official said the potential for 5G chicanery is a “preeminent threat” of the modern era.

“This is at the top of our list,” the official said.

U.S. and Polish officials are finalizing a “common approach to network security” amid concerns that adversarial governments may use 5G equipment to snoop or disrupt telecommunications networks around the world.

Senior administration officials declined to say whether the countries will agree to box out Huawei, a Chinese firm the Trump administration blacklisted amid concerns it is too cozy with China’s communist government and surveillance capabilities.

Huawei denies it is a security risk, though U.S. officials have pushed European allies and others to resist the company as they build out 5G networks.

Officials did not want to single out any companies Friday, though told reporters they are focused on multiple firms, “some of whom you know well.”

Mr. Trump was supposed to spend the Labor Day weekend in Poland but canceled Thursday, citing preparations for Dorian’s likely landfall in Florida.

A senior administration official said Mr. Trump is “extremely comfortable” with Mr. Pence stepping in and speaking on his behalf at the war ceremony and other events.

“What you’re seeing is the president’s confidence in the vice president,” the official said. “The president felt his place was at the White House monitoring an extremely dangerous storm.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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