Press: Czech PM met Chinese ambassador ahead of Huawei ban, later retracted

27-12-2018

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (Ano) stressed at a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jianmin ahead of the Christmas holidays that his government did not in fact favour banning the use of mobile phones made by Huawei and ZTE, the daily Denik N reports.

On December 17, the National Bureau for Cyber Security and Information (NÚKIB) argued using technology made by those Chinese companies could undermine state security.

Mr Babiš announced on December 19 that employees of the Government Office (Úřad vlády) would be banned from using the Chinese products. Several ministries later followed suit.

According to Denik N, however, Mr Babiš told the Chinese Ambassador to Prague that this was not the government’s official position, and a few days after announcing the partial ban, he rescinded it, saying such a move was hasty and had no technical basis.

In a press release dated December 24, the Chinese embassy said Mr Babiš had apologised for the initial decision to impose a partial ban and stressed the positive development of Czech-Sino economic cooperation.

Opposition politicians have said the position taken by the Czech prime minister was irresponsible, with one accusing him of being servile to China.