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US leans on South Korea over Huawei

by on04 December 2013

Why can’t you buy Cisco?

The US government is a little cross with South Korea for buying Chinese telecoms gear instead of stuff made in the land of the fee. The heads of two US Senate committees overseeing national security have expressed concern to the Obama administration over a recent network supply deal between China's Huawei and Washington ally South Korea.

They argue that the Huawei gear is a security risk and of course, the US gear would never be used to spy on its ally. South Korea, admitted that Huawei's deal to supply mobile network equipment does raise security concerns, but it has no immediate plan to look into the issue. US Vice President Joe Biden is due to visit Seoul later this week as part of a broader Asia trip and might have a word with them.

LG Uplus Corp, South Korea's third-largest mobile carrier, added Huawei to its fourth-generation mobile network vendor list in October to boost competition. It was already working with Samsung Electronics, Ericsson and Nokia's telecoms gear unit. Lee Dong-ho, an official in charge of telecoms network regulation at the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning pointed out that any foreign telco equipment maker is always going to be a security risk.

His minister, Choi Mun-kee, told lawmakers in late October there's not much the government can do about private companies doing business with Huawei.

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