An employee is seen within a Huawei store in Shanghai, China May 8, 2019. Photo taken on May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer attention EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
SEOUL (reuters) – The U.S. government is lobbying South Korea not to use Huawei Technologies Co Ltd products, a South Korean newspaper reported on Thursday, amid a broader push by Washington to its allies to refuse the Chinese tech firm’s goods.
In one incident, a U.S. Department of foreign affairs said in a recent meeting with a South Korean counterpart that the local telco LG Uplus Corp, which makes use of Huawei equipment, it should “not be allowed to serve in sensitive areas in South Korea”, Chosun Ilbo reported. The official added Huawei must be ultimately driven out of the country, if not immediately.
Washington is on the allies not to use equipment from Huawei over concerns it could be used for espionage or cyber attacks – a concern that Huawei says is unfounded.
The anti-Huawei campaign intensified last week, when the AMERICAN President Donald Trump signed an executive order that effectively banned the use of Huawei equipment in the U.S. telecom networks on national security grounds. In addition, the Ministry of Commerce set limits to the company’s purchases of AMERICAN technology.
While South Korea is an AMERICAN ally, China is the largest export market. China took in almost a quarter of South Korea’s total exports in the first four months of this year, according to South Korean government data.
The US government has repeatedly sent the message to South Korean Foreign Ministry through various diplomatic channels with the help of Huawei products can lead to security problems, Chosun Ilbo reported, citing an unnamed diplomatic source in Seoul.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul does not immediately respond to request for comment. South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no immediate comment.
“LG Uplus has not received, or declarations or requests of both the South Korean ministry of foreign affairs or of the United States with respect to our use of Huawei equipment,” an LG Uplus official told Reuters Thursday.
Reporting by Joyce Lee and Heekyong Yang; Additional reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Sam Holmes