Huawei Helped to Build North Korean 3G Network: Report

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Huawei secretly helped North Korea build and maintain its 3G mobile network, potentially breaking US sanctions in the process, a new report has sensationally claimed.

A former employee leaked sensitive internal documents to The Washington Post, allegedly revealing a number of projects related to building out 3G in the hermit state. The documents are said to refer to North Korea, and countries like Iran and Syria, by code.

Huawei is reported to have partnered with Chinese state-owned firm Panda International Information Technology on the projects.

The Shenzhen giant has hit back at the claims, arguing that it has “no business presence” in North 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,” a statement from the firm noted.

Huawei has been at the center of a growing conflict between the US and China over trade and national security. Its activities conflate the two issues, because some US lawmakers believe it has gained an unfair advantage on the world stage over the past few years, and that its 5G networks pose a security risk.

Donald Trump declared a national emergency in May 2019 in a move designed to prevent Chinese tech companies from building the country’s 5G networks.

At the same time, the US put Huawei on a potentially crippling entity list, preventing US firms from selling it's key components. Trump has since rowed back on this threat, saying the US will provide parts where they are already generally available.

Although the President seems to be using the firm as a bargaining chip in his trade discussions, the latest revelations may force more punitive action from Washington, with Congress calling for a tougher approach.

Huawei is already facing a 13-count indictment for breaching sanctions on Iran, for which its CFO Meng Wanzhou faces extradition, and a 10-count indictment over theft of intellectual property from T-Mobile.

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