Huawei has been in hot water with the US over national security concerns, but new evidence shows that Shenzhen's Pride has partnered with the North Korean government in the past to build and maintain its wireless network.
The evidence comes in the form of past work orders, contracts, and detailed spreadsheets from Huawei's own global telecom operations. A former Huawei employee handed over the documents to The Washington Post to aid public interest in the Chinese corporation's dealings. Additional documents were shared by others. Like the Huawei employee, all spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Documents provided to The Washington Post under anonymity show the Huawei logo on a "UMTS Price Schedule" that says "For CHEO (North Korea)." The date on the document is March 17th, 2008, though Huawei worked with North Korea on projects through 2012 from the retrieved documentation. The "CHEO" mentioned is specifically stated in the document to be "an entity existing under D.P.R of Korea Law," with a registered office in Pyongyang City.
"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 United Nations, United States, and European Union," according to the official statement by Huawei spokesman Joe Kelly. Kelly also said that Huawei "has no business presence" in North Korea.
Huawei not only helped set up North Korea's wireless network but also worked on a series of projects there over an eight-year period in conjunction with Chinese state-owned firm Panda International Information Technology Co, Ltd. This reveals that Huawei has been hands-on in North Korea for some stretch of time. North Korea is a target of US sanctions because of its weapons program.
Huawei has been known quite a few times for working in morally compromising situations. It appears as though the company doesn't have a sense of moral duty or obligation if having morals affects company finances.
Huawei's partnership with North Korea is just one questionable partnership in a string of troubling alliances. Evidence has surfaced over the last few weeks of Huawei's strong ties to the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the official Chinese state military arm, but Huawei says it runs strong background checks and doesn't have any employees working for the Chinese army.
It has also become public knowledge that, in the same way Huawei has worked with North Korea over some eight years on various projects, Huawei has also worked with the PLA on at least ten different projects, at least those that have become public knowledge.
Huawei has been known for trade theft of its own against Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile. The Shenzhen-based corporation returned to the infamous spotlight back in May when US President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order to stop Huawei from buying and selling in the US.
Since then, American high-tech companies have been hurting financially from the $11 billion of investment Huawei would make in the US each year. Some of these high-tech companies such as Intel and Micron, among others, have gone to Trump to appeal to his financial sense to relax the ban so that American companies can sell to Huawei again.
Trump has extended an olive branch to Huawei for the sake of American companies (the MAGA mindset to "Make America Great Again"), but Huawei still sits on the US Entity List and Google's response to Huawei hasn't changed since mid-May. Google did suggest that Huawei's devices were more of a threat to national security than Huawei devices with Google's Android, but to each his own.
Huawei's partnership with North Korea in anything is dangerous, let alone its wireless network and "various other projects" whose names haven't been supplied publicly. And this partnership with North Korea, even stretching back 7 years ago, will prove a thorn in the side of the Trump administration.
President Trump has relaxed his policies with Huawei, likely due to their investment in US agriculture, among other things, but Huawei could work with North Korea again. Huawei says that it's complying with US regulations regarding sanction laws, but how is the company doing this when it has forged an alliance with North Korea — a known enemy of the US?
North Korea is, in many ways, a dictatorial regime, similar in setup to China, where the government controls the media and everything else around it. And Huawei's willingness to work with the North Korean government without the slightest thought of morality indicates that the company would do the same thing for its own Beijing Government if commanded to commit espionage for the sake of China.
The evidence of Huawei's collaboration with North Korea spans from seven years ago (the earliest), but can Huawei be trusted to steer clear of North Korea now? It's a question only Huawei can answer, though the company's answer, and whether or not it would be honest, is up for debate.