U.S. lawmakers express concerns over Huawei South Korea deal

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 3, 2013 6:34pm EST

A general view shows the headquarters of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in Shenzhen, Guangdong province June 29, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer

A general view shows the headquarters of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in Shenzhen, Guangdong province June 29, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The heads of two U.S. Senate committees that oversee national security have expressed concern to the Obama administration over news reports that China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has been chosen to build a nationwide wireless network in South Korea.

According to press reports, Huawei has been selected as a subcontractor for LG U+ - a Korean subsidiary of LG Corp - in its plans to build a nationwide broadband network in South Korea.

Democratic Senators Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the reports raised concerns in light of the close security alliance between the United States and South Korea.

"Maintaining the integrity of telecommunications infrastructure is critical to the operational effectiveness of this important security alliance," they said in a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and James Clapper, President Barack Obama's Director of National Intelligence.

The letter, dated November 27, was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday. Vice President Joe Biden left on Sunday on a trip to Asia to include stops in China and South Korea, as well as Japan, during which the issue could come up.

The letter underscored how intertwined the communications industry has become with concerns about security.

Last year the U.S. House Intelligence Committee released a report urging U.S. telecommunications companies not to do business with Huawei and its local rival ZTE Corp because it said potential Chinese state influence on the companies posed a security threat.

Both Chinese companies have denied that they have links to the Chinese government.

Menendez and Feinstein said they were "very interested" to receive the administration officials' assessment of "potential threats and security concerns" about Huawei's involvement, as well as any discussions the U.S. government has had with the South Korean government about the importance of network integrity related to the decision.

A senior administration official declined to discuss details of diplomatic discussions involving Seoul, but added, "We do have concerns about Huawei."

The official noted that Huawei was excluded in October 2011 from taking part in the building of a U.S. wireless emergency response network due to national security concerns.

Huawei is the world's second-largest telecom equipment maker.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by Steve Holland, editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (3)
majkmushrm wrote:
So now the US wants to have a say in a commercial contract in another nation. That takes a lotta gall.

Dec 03, 2013 7:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
AdamSmith wrote:
U.S. lawmakers pretend to care for America, but whom they really care for are the wealthy corporate owners of Cisco and other so-called “American” companies who have helped destroy the American engineering profession.

These “American” companies, like Cisco, Google, and IBM do not serve America, but rather prey on America. And here in this article, it appears they now want the help of the American legal system.

America issues thousands and thousands of H1B visas which allow foreign engineers from China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Pakistan to come to America to work in the inner sanctum of American high tech corporations. The H1B Visa law was written by these companies and then, at their behest, passed by Congress about 15 years ago.

Those so-called “American” corporations, like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Intel and IBM have stabbed the American worker in the back by outsourcing their American manufacturing jobs to China and India.

These so called American companies manufacture military weapons and sell them to foreign governments.

Our so-called “American” companies routinely bring low-cost engineers from China, India and Russia into American universities and research centers. Those foreign engineers then take what they learn back to their home countries, and work there for local companies competing against America.

Large American companies like IBM have formed joint ventures with large Chinese companies, and divulged crucial technology to them in order to get large contracts in the domestic Chinese or Indian markets.

In other words, so-called American corporations routinely betray the American people every day. Every day, American companies are lobbying congress to grant even more H1B visas for foreign engineers so they can continue to drive down American wage rates.

And now they complain when a Chinese company like Huawei uses technology siphoned from American engineers through Chinese students in American schools and Chinese engineers working in America on the corrupt H1B Visa program to do business in South Korea.

To me, all multinational corporations should be treated the same. All of them seek to prey on nations everywhere. To me, Cisco is just as dangerous to the American working class as Huawei – or even more dangerous because people tend to think Cisco is somehow on America’s side.

Same with Apple and Samsung. The American worker should be just as fearful of Apple as of Samsung. One is legally based in America, and one in South Korea. But both are attempting to prey, without scruples, upon Americans and Koreans.

Dec 03, 2013 9:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Kailim wrote:
It has been revealed that virtually all the US telecommunication and IT firms have linked to the NSA. Shall we, the international community other than the USA, do business with them? I expect an answer, not propaganda or BS, from the US lawmakers.

Dec 03, 2013 10:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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