There’s a new bombshell in the “tech trade war”. Allegedly, the Chinese tech giant Huawei secretly helped build North Korea’s cell phone network. Those actions were potentially in violation of sanctions aimed at pressuring the regime to cease developing nuclear weapons, according to a report by The Washington Post.
Citing documents leaked by a former employee and sources familiar with the arrangement, the Washington Post stated on Monday that Huawei worked with China’s state-owned Panda International Information Technology on a number of telecom projects in North Korea for at least eight years until 2016.
Based on such documents, Huawei and Panda International transported equipment such as base stations and antennas to North Korea to help the country build its 3G network. “This is how many North Koreans were using their phones. This was done in secret. They used code names to avoid saying North Korea,” stated Washington Post writer, John Hudson, in an interview with CNN.
The said documents indicate Huawei used a specific code (A9 ) when referring to North Korea.
Now that’s really bad timing for the telecom giant, which responded to these reports by saying it has no business presence in North Korea. Could this jeopardize Huawei’s efforts to normalize relations with the U.S.? This is probably too early to say, yet don’t be surprised if the U.S. government and it allies issue strong counter responses in the next few days.