On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Huawei had been secretly working in North Korea on various communication projects, including building and maintaining the country’s wireless network
Huawei’s work has been in direct violation of the sanctions imposed on North Korea because of its nuclear weapons activity. The revelations are going to increase worries in the West about the trustworthiness of the Chinese communication giant, and would provide more evidence to support the conclusions of Western intelligence services that Huawei serves the interests of the Chinese government and China’s intelligence services.
Huawei’s work has been in direct violation of the sanctions imposed on North Korea because of its nuclear weapons activity.
The revelations are going to increase worries in the West about the trustworthiness of the Chinese communication giant, and would provide more evidence to support the conclusions of Western intelligence services that Huawei serves the interests of the Chinese government and China’s intelligence services.
The U.S intelligence community asserts that Huawei’s technologies pose a threat to national security.
Huawei concealed its work in North Korea by partnering with Panda International Information Technology, a Chinese state-owned company, and referring to North Korea as “A9” in company’s documents. The Post notes that Huawei used similar tactics to conceal its work in other countries under international trade sanctions, such as Iran and Syria,
Huawei has been under investigation by the U.S. Commerce Department for its illicit relationship with North Korea. The company has been charged by the U.S. Justice Department with violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. In May, the Trump administration banned the sale of U.S.-made technology to Huawei. But the Commerce Department investigation began in 2016, which means that Huawei used American technology – in violation of U.S. export controls — to help North Korea.
In response to the news on Monday, Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) and Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) have introduced severalpieces of legislation aimed at restricting Huawei’s access to American technology and markets.
“At every turn, we learn more and more what a malign actor Huawei is,” they said.
“Huawei isn’t a normal business partner for American companies, it’s a front for the Chinese Communist Party. Our bill reinforces the president’s decision to place Huawei on a technology blacklist. American companies shouldn’t be in the business of selling our enemies the tools they’ll use to spy on Americans,” said Cotton.
Other senators agreed. “Huawei, a malign Chinese state-directed telecommunications company that seeks to dominate the future of 5G networks, is an instrument of national power used by the regime in Beijing to undermine U.S. companies and other international competitors, engage in espionage on foreign countries, and steal intellectual property and trade secrets,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida).
“Huawei poses an alarming and unacceptable threat to our nation’s critical telecommunications networks. Our bipartisan bill is a no-brainer. Preventing Huawei from doing business in the United States protects our national security. We must act swiftly to make sure this dangerous company does not cause us harm,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut).
Huawei, founded in 1987, is the second-largest smartphone seller in the world, behind Samsung but ahead of Apple. Its business also includes telecommunications networks, smart devices, and cloud services.
Western intelligence services have gathered voluminous evidence to support their conclusion that Huawei, with about $100 billion in revenue last year, is not an ordinary technology company.
Voxnotes that, for years, congressional committees, the FBI, the National Security Agency, and others have pointed to the close ties between Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party. The United States has banned the company from bidding on government contracts, and this past May, the White House issued an executive order prohibiting American companies from selling their technology to the Chinese company.
At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in February 2018, the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community said Huawei and another Chinese tech company, ZTE, posed national security risks to the United States and warned American companies about doing business with them.
Western intelligence services are worried that companies such as Huawei would sell products and install network components with “back doors,” which would allow Chinese intelligence agencies access to data or surveillance.
Alternatively, Huawei might turn over the data it has collected to the Chinese government, or the Chinese could somehow weaponize Huawei’s technology.
The U.S. Commerce Department placed Huawei and 70 of its affiliates on its Entity List, which is a trade blacklist which bars companies listed on it from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without government approval.
A senior State Department official talked with the Post about Huawei’s activities in North Korea: “All of this fits into a general concern we have about corporate responsibility and a company like Huawei that is not trustworthy because of its company culture and numerous incidents indicating a willingness to evade or outright violate laws,” the official said.
“Working with regimes like North Korea, who deprive individuals on a regular basis of their basic human rights, raises concern.”