In a stunning report, The Washington Post has reported that Chinese tech-giant, Huawei, secretly worked with the North Korean Government on its wireless network. According to the internal documents acquired by The Washington Post, Huawei partnered with a Chinese state-owned firm, Panda International Information Technology Co. Ltd., on multiple projects over the course of at least eight years. The information acquired is from past work orders, contracts, and detailed spreadsheets from a database of the company’s telecom operations worldwide.
A Huawei spokesperson told CNBC the company “has no business presence in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea… Huawei is fully committed to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate, including all export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US, and EU.” Panda Electronics Group did not immediately respond to comment on the situation.
It is well known that Huawei and the United States government do not have the best relationship. The American government banned a wide variety of sales to Huawei earlier this year amid concerns for national security. The revelation of these documents brings about many questions for the company and the United States government. Huawei has utilized American technology in the components of its products and may have violated the United States export controls to furnish equipment to North Korea. North Korea has faced a swell of international sanctions regarding its nuclear weapons program and its human rights violations.
The Commerce Department has been investigating potential ties between Huawei and North Korea for year, but not evidence has come to fruition to connect the two. This investigation has been active since 2016 and remains active today. The Justice Department is also digging in on Huawei and has charged the Company with bank fraud and violations of United States sanctions on Iran. Not surprisingly, Huawei has pleaded not guilty to these accusations.
The unveiling of the link between Huawei and North Korea will serve to create even more suspicion regarding the true intentions of the Company. Western nations will continue to muse whether or not to ban the tech giant.
“Just the fact that you’ve got a Huawei-North Korea connection is bound to raise political and diplomatic hackles in Washington, if nothing else,” said Evans J.R. Revere, a former State Department official focused on East Asia. “Just when you thought the U.S.-China relationship couldn’t get more complicated, and the U.S.-North Korea relationship couldn’t get more complicated, you have this instance of China and North Korea working together to enable Korea to make strides in an area of potentially sensitive technology.”
The Government will continue to dig in to find the truth of what is going on between Huawei and North Korea. Until then, many questions will be raised and investigations will be conducted.