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Report: Huawei Helped Build North Korean Wireless Network

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Report: Huawei Helped Build North Korean Wireless Network

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. clandestinely helped North Korea build and maintain a commercial wireless network, The Washington Post reported Monday.

What Happened

The Post reported that Huawei worked in a partnership with a Chinese state-owned firm, Panda International Information Technology Co. Ltd., on North Korean projects over the course of at least eight years.

Though Huawei was involved in the projects, the Post report said it was difficult to determine the degree of the company’s participation.

The Post based much of its reporting on information provided by a former Huawei employee whose identity was kept secret. It said other documents were shared by other people who also weren’t named by the newspaper.

The Post published the report in tandem with the website 38 North, which does reporting and analysis on North Korea. 

North Korea's cellular network, Koryolink, launched in 2008 and is reportedly designed to allow North Korean officials to spy on users of the network. 

Why It’s Important

The documents showing Huawei involvement in North Korean projects will raise questions about whether the company, which has used American technology, violated U.S. sanctions that prohibit providing equipment to North Korea.

Huawei is a central figure in the U.S. trade war with China. The Trump administration considers Huawei a threat to U.S. national security and blocked American companies from doing business with the company.

The Commerce Department has been looking into allegations of Huawei doing work in North Korea for a few years, but hasn’t publicly connected the company and the isolated North Korean regime, the Post said.

Commerce Department officials declined to comment on the Post’s story.

Huawei released a statement saying it has no business presence in North Korea and is “fully committed to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Huawei has been charged separately by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, but has pleaded not guilty. 

What's Next

The report is likely to damage Huawei's efforts to revamp its public image in the United States.

It also is likely to add to the scrutiny of the company by the Commerce Department, which is reportedly still investigating its ties to North Korea.

Related Links:

Huawei Acknowledges Potential $30B Revenue Shortfall

Report: Huawei Looks Outside US For Solar Parts

Public domain photo via Wikimedia

Posted-In: China Huawei North Korea telecommunicationsNews Global Tech Media Best of Benzinga

 

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