US concerned over South Korean telecom

US concerned over South Korean telecom

US concerned over South Korean telecom

A man looks at a Huawei mobile phone at an electronic market in Shanghai.

The heads of two U.S. Senate committees overseeing national security have expressed concern to the Obama administration over a recent network supply deal between China’s Huawei Technologies and Washington ally South Korea.

South Korea, which hosts some 28,000 U.S. soldiers to deter potential provocation from North Korea, said Huawei’s deal to supply mobile network equipment does raise security concerns, but it has no immediate plan to look into the issue. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is due to visit Seoul later this week as part of a broader Asia trip.

“There is security concern when you purchase telecoms equipment from foreign suppliers. It’s not just limited to one specific company,” said Lee Dong-ho, an official in charge of telecoms network regulation at the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. 

“They are providing equipment in accordance with local regulations, and we also have authorities and proper systems in place aimed at monitoring any security breaches. We don’t have any plan to look into Huawei’s deal at this point,” the official said. 

Democratic Senators Robert Menendez said media reports on Huawei’s supply deal with LG raised concerns in light of the close security alliance between the United States and South Korea.
“Maintaining the integrity of telecommunications infrastructure is critical to the operational effectiveness of this important security alliance,” they said in a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and James Clapper, President Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence.