China, Russia concerns top Pompeo agenda
WASHINGTON >> U.S. fears about China and Russia’s growing influence in Central Europe will top Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s agenda as he heads to the region this week. Pompeo leaves for a five-nation tour of Europe that will begin in Hungary and Slovakia where he will raise those concerns and the importance of promoting democracy and the rule of law to counter Beijing and Moscow’s efforts to pull the countries away from the West and sow divisions in the European Union and NATO. The centerpiece of the trip will be a conference on the future of the Middle East in Poland that is expected to focus on Iran and will also be attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Vice President Pence and President Trump’s Mideast peace team of senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt. In Budapest and Bratislava, Pompeo will specifically point to issues related to Central Europe’s reliance on Russian energy and the presence of the Chinese high-tech telecom firm Huawei.