VILNIUS, Mar 12, BNS - With Chinese telecoms giant Huawei facing security gap or espionage suspicions from US and EU officials, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius says the security situation needs to be assessed responsibly, but, at the same time, the principles of law must be observed.
"Huawei has the right to participate in international tenders, at least under the existing legislation," Linkevicius told Ziniu Radijas on Tuesday. "We are a state governed by the rule of law, and when the relevant bodies take other decisions, there will be other decisions."
"We now see warnings from the US and they apparently have grounds for that. For the time being, this company, like any other, participates in the market, and decisions are made based on certain criteria," he said.
When asked to comment on Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis' statement that there would be no Huawei technologies in the national defense system, Linkevicius noted that the company had not been included in "any lists".
The minister said he had no authority to make unilateral political decisions regarding Huawei in agencies subordinate to him.
"I have no such powers. Personally, I may have an opinion on this, and I think that we also need to take this very carefully, especially in institutions dealing with security, defense and foreign affairs. So far, this has not been done, which I think is not good," the minister said.
"However, at the same time, I want to note that all this has to be dealt with in a legal way, not through statements," he added.
When asked about China's political and economic ambitions, Lithuania's chief diplomat said China's activity was visible worldwide and Lithuania was no exception.
"We have certain safeguards in place. As to investments from that country (and) economic cooperation, in segments of strategic importance to us, we have a certain filter, and our Chinese colleagues know these rules (...). In particular, there are restrictions when it comes to our strategic sectors," he said.
In early February, Lithuanian intelligence bodies warned of increasing activity by China's intelligence and security services in the country, marking the first time Chinese espionage had been identified as a threat to national security.