A long-running US campaign to persuade countries in Europe to ban the use of Huawei 5G kit was stepped up, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pictured, left) pushed Italy for action on the issue.

In a joint press conference, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio (pictured, right) said the nation was “clear in mind” on the US concerns around the security of 5G networks.

He added Italy was “fully aware of the responsibility that bears on every NATO country when the security of their allies comes into play”, and “the importance of ensuring the security of 5G networks”.

Italy had already introduced legislation giving it the power to vet and veto the use of specific pieces of equipment. Di Maio noted the issue was deemed a priority and called for discussion of a unified approach at European Union level.

Though not mentioning Huawei specifically, Pompeo said he had discussed the use of technology from Chinese companies with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte during a visit to the country.

In the press briefing, he added: “The United States urges the Italian government to carefully consider the risks to national security and privacy of its citizens presented by technology companies with ties to the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.”

Huawei has borne the brunt of US campaigns against Chinese technology companies, with the vendor already blacklisted, subject to sanctions and now also restricted by a number of countries.

The vendor has repeatedly and strenuously denied accusations its equipment is a security risk and denies claims of links to Chinese authorities.