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  1. HONG KONG/WARSAW (Reuters) - Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei said on Saturday it had sacked an employee arrested in Poland on spying charges in a case that could intensify Western security concerns about the company. Poland’s internal affairs minister, Joachim Brudzinski, called for the European Union and NATO to work on a joint position over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets following the arrest of the Chinese employee and a former Polish security official on Friday. Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with China’s government and U.S.-led allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for spying. No evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has repeatedly denied the accusations, but several Western countries have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets. In August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill that barred the U.S. government from using Huawei equipment and is mulling an executive order that would also ban U.S. companies from doing so. Brudzinski said Poland wanted to continue cooperating with China but that a discussion was needed on whether to exclude Huawei from some markets. “There are concerns about Huawei within NATO as well. It would make most sense to have a joint stance, among EU member states and NATO members,” he told private broadcaster RMF FM. “We want relations with China that are good, intensive and attractive for both sides,” he added. HUAWEI DISTANCES ITSELF FROM ARRESTS Seeking to distance itself from the incident, Huawei said in a statement it had sacked Wang Weijing, whose “alleged actions have no relation to the company.” “In accordance with the terms and conditions of Huawei’s labor contract, we have made this decision because the incident has brought Huawei into disrepute,” the statement said. “Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based,” the company’s statement added. A Huawei spokesman, Joe Kelly, declined to give any further details. The two men have heard the charges and could be held for three months. A spokesman for the Polish security services had told Reuters the allegations related to individual actions, and were not linked directly to Huawei Technologies Cos Ltd. A deputy digital affairs minister in Poland said, however, that Warsaw was analyzing any involvement by Huawei in building the country’s 5G telecommunications infrastructure, Money.pl portal reported. Any decision by Western governments over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets would have to consider the possible impact on the speed and cost of 5G development, analysts say. “My best-case outcome is that Europe uses this window of opportunity and figures out how to have a minimal risk for the best network possible,” said Jan-Peter Kleinhans, an IT security expert at Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, a Berlin-based think-tank. A LinkedIn profile for Wang showed he has worked for Huawei’s Polish division since 2011 and previously served as attache to the Chinese General Consul in Gdansk from 2006-2011. Wang did not immediately respond to a request for comment via the social media site. China’s Foreign Ministry has expressed concern over the case and is urging Poland to handle the case “justly.” Source
  2. WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s counter-espionage agency has arrested a Chinese manager at tech giant Huawei in Poland and one of its own former officers and informed them both that they face charges of spying on Poland for China, state television reported Friday. The two men were arrested Tuesday, according to the Internal Security Agency. Polish security agents also searched the Warsaw offices of Huawei and Orange, Poland’s leading communications provider, where the former Polish spy had recently worked, seizing documents and electronic data. The homes of both men were also searched, according to TVP, the state broadcaster. The development comes as the U.S. is exerting pressure on its allies to block Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications network equipment. A U.S. dispute with China over its ban on Huawei is spilling over to Europe, the company’s biggest foreign market. The company is a leader in the development of next-generation “5G” mobile networks and a key player in building them in Europe but some countries are starting to reconsider using Huawei’s equipment over data security concerns. Some European governments and telecom companies are following the U.S. lead in questioning whether using Huawei for vital infrastructure for mobile networks could leave them exposed to snooping by the Chinese government. Maciej Wasik, deputy head of Poland’s special service, said the operation that resulted in the arrests of the two suspects had been underway for a long time. He said “both carried out espionage activities against Poland.” TVP said the men have proclaimed their innocence and are refusing to give testimony in the case. TVP, which is close to the government, identified the arrested Chinese man as Weijing W., saying he was a director in Poland at Huawei. The broadcaster said the man also went by the Polish first name of Stanislaw and had previously worked at the Chinese consulate in Gdansk. A LinkedIn profile for a man named Stanislaw Wang appears to match details of the man described by Polish television. Wang’s resume said he worked at China’s General Consulate in Gdansk from 2006-2011 and at Huawei Enterprise Poland since 2011, where he was first director of public affairs and since 2017 the “sales director of public sector.” The resume said he received a bachelor’s degree in 2004 from the Beijing University of Foreign Studies. State TV identified the Pole as Piotr D., and said he was a high-ranking employee at the Internal Security Agency until 2011, where he served as deputy director in the department of information security. If convicted, the men could face up to 10 years in prison, the security agency said. Huawei issued a statement from its Chinese headquarters saying it was aware of the situation and was looking into it. “We have no comment for the time being. Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based,” it continued. An official at the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw says China attaches “great importance to the detention” of the Chinese citizen in Poland and that Chinese envoys had met with Polish Foreign Ministry officials on the matter. The spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said China urged Poland “to inform China about the situation of this case and arrange a consular visit as soon as possible.” Geopolitical tensions over Huawei intensified after its chief financial officer, who is the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested Dec. 1 in Canada in connection with U.S. accusations that the company violated restrictions on sales of American technology to Iran. The United States wants Meng Wanzhou extradited to face charges that she misled banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran. She is out on bail in Canada awaiting extradition proceedings. Huawei has been blocked in the U.S. since 2012, when a House Intelligence Committee report found it was a security risk and recommended that the government and private companies stop buying its network equipment. Source
  3. KATOWICE, Poland (Reuters) - Governments should not use the violent protests in France that were sparked by a carbon tax increase as an excuse to stem policies to curb global warming, French officials said on Monday. French Secretary of State for Ecology Brune Poirson, and Laurent Fabius, who presided over the 2015 Paris climate agreement, said countries must keep up the momentum of that U.N. deal which aims to limit temperature rise to between 1.5 degrees to 2 degrees Celsius by 2030. “It would be a error to think that because there are problems in France, we should abandon ecological transition,” Fabius told reporters on the sidelines of the U.N. climate conference in Poland. The former foreign minister whose handling of the Paris negotiations earned him worldwide praise, said countries could not afford to curb climate policies because the consequences would be even more devastating. “We must move towards that transition, but the transition must be just,” he said, adding that policymakers must ensure that funds earmarked for green policies are used for that purpose, which was not the case in France. Speaking in a separate briefing, ecology minister Poirson said one of the key messages from the protests was that green taxes had to target industries and not just citizens, and governments needed to communicate their aims more clearly to the public. She said the French government was exploring ways to revamp fiscal policies to achieve environmental aims. “That means embracing green budgeting. It is really difficult because it means radically changing they way our institutions, the way our bureaucracy work. But I don’t see how we could do it differently,” Poirson said. The so-called “yellow vests” protests in France prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to call for the end of what he said was a “ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement.” Trump has already pulled out of the deal. Source
  4. KATOWICE, Poland (AP) — Several thousand people gathered Saturday amid a heavy police presence in southern Poland for a “March for Climate” to encourage negotiators at climate talks to set ambitious goals. Activist dressed in polar bear costumes call for nuclear energy to replace fossile fuels on the sidelines of a climate march in Katowice, Activists from around the world gathered in the main square of the city of Katowice where delegates from almost 200 countries are holding a two-week meeting on curbing climate change. Some of them were dressed as polar bears, some as orangutans, animals that are facing extinction from man-made global warming and deforestation. They joined in chants of “Wake up, it’s time to save our home,” and held banners including one reading “Defend our Rights to Food, Land, Water,” as large police units and mounted police looked on. Earlier Saturday, campaign group Climate Action Network said that one of its employees has been allowed to enter Poland after earlier being stopped by border guards citing unspecified security threats. The group, an alliance of hundreds of organizations from around the world, said Polish authorities gave Belgium-based activist Zanna Vanrenterghem permission to continue to the U.N. climate summit in Katowice. The Belgian ambassador in Poland, Luc Jacobs, said Polish border guards had provided him with no details about the case but confirmed that Vanrenterghem was admitted into Poland overnight. CAN had no immediate information about 12 other activists deported or denied entry to Poland in recent days. Poland introduced temporary random identity checks ahead of the conference, arguing they were needed for security. Source
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