USA Pressuring South Korean Network to Cancel Huawei Deal
Published on: 5th Jan 2014
South Korea's government has confirmed that it was approached by US officials who raised concerns about a deal between Huawei and the local mobile network operator LG U .
The Presidential office confirmed reports that the US government had officially expressed security concerns about the network deployment contract with Huawei, but said that it would take a "business-wise" approach to the issue.
The mobile network operator, LG U+ signed a contract with Huawei in October for the deployment of an LTE network upgrade using its recently acquired 2.6Ghz spectrum.
"It is true that the U.S. has made an issue [out of Huawei advancing into Korea], but it is a basically a trade and business deal," the Blue House source told the Korea JoongAng Daily. "It is not supposed to evolve into a diplomatic dispute and we will try to seek an understanding from the U.S.
A number of US politicians had suggested last month that the South Korean firm's upgrade plans could put US military based in the country at risk from Chinese spying.
"I wonder whether the issue raised by the U.S. lawmakers is technical, diplomatic, or a political one," LG Uplus CEO and Vice Chairman Lee Sang-chul said last month.
US Senator John McCain said that "The Republic of Korea is not just a close U.S. ally; it is a country in which 28,500 Americans in uniform are serving on the front lines and ready to fight in Korea's defense," McCain added that "The national security interests of the United States are thus directly affected by the integrity of Korea's information networks."
A Korean decision to give Huawei a major stake in building out the country's telecommunications infrastructure would go over very badly in the United States and the Congress the Senator concluded.
To assuage some of the issues, LG U+ did agree last month that they will carry out an "open test on the Huawei products" to prove there are no security concerns.
On the web: Korea JoongAng Daily