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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday invoked the 30th anniversary of the demise of communism to implore countries in Central and Eastern Europe to resist Chinese and Russian influence.
Speaking in the Slovak capital of Bratislava, Pompeo said China and Russia pose twin threats to the democratic and free-market gains made since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Countries - Predatory - Investment - Meddling - Threat
He said the post-communist countries are particularly vulnerable to Chinese and Russian predatory investment and political meddling. To combat the threat, he said, the United States is committed to boosting its engagement in the region, through defense cooperation agreements and exchange programs.
He said because of its history and geography, Slovakia has "a special appreciation for the aggressive role Russia continues to play in the region," particularly in Ukraine.
Russia - Nation - Sovereignty - Freedom - Europe
But, he said, "Russia is not the only nation that seeks to erode sovereignty and freedom in Europe."
Pompeo said he had raised with Slovak officials the "need to guard against China's economic and other efforts to create dependence and manipulate your political system."
Things - Sovereignty
"It's real, it's intentional and they are trying to do things that undermine your sovereignty," he said.
Pompeo was in Slovakia on the second leg of a five-nation European tour that began in Hungary and will take him to Poland, Belgium and Iceland.
Warning - Monday - Budapest - United - States
He renewed a warning he delivered on Monday in Budapest that the United States may be forced to scale back certain operations in Europe and elsewhere if countries continue to do business with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei.
He said the U.S. had strong concerns about Huawei's motives in Europe, especially in NATO and European Union member states, as well as its business practices.
Companies - Way - Anything
"We're fine with companies competing, but they have got to do so in a way that's fair and open and transparent, and they can't do so with anything other...
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