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Korea will discuss US boycott of Huawei with China, US, if needed

The government will discuss national security concerns over the use of Huawei Technologies’ equipment with related countries if necessary, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday as US ambassador to Korea stepped up calls to boycott the Chinese telecom giant. 

US Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris (Yonhap)
US Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris (Yonhap)

“Regarding Huawai’s equipment issue, the government will be seeking a way that would respect corporate autonomy and wouldn’t impact the security of military communications,” a ministry official told reporters on the condition of anonymity.

“Related ministries are closely coordinating over the matter and the government will discuss it with related countries if needed,” he said.

US Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris has been publicly warning Seoul on sovereign security risks in allowing Huawei to roll out 5G network technology here.

Harris’s hardline stance on Huawei raised eyebrows when, in a recent interview with the conservative Chosun Ilbo, he said that he “disagrees with the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae’s statement” that downplayed concerns about the impact of possible involvement of the Chinese conglomerate in the country's 5G network.

Washington does not want to expose sensitive security information to risks, which means that it will reevaluate how to share information with its allies, he said. 

The US envoy said that Cheong Wa Dae should assess all options like the US is doing in dealing with issues regarding Huawei based on national security interests.

In May, the Donald Trump administration blacklisted Huawei, effectively preventing it from buying semiconductors, software and other components from US suppliers.

Harris has been pressuring Korea to choose between China and the US since early June.

While attending an ICT-related forum in Seoul on June 5, Harris urged Korean firms choose a "trustworthy system provider."

“Decisions made today regarding 5G networks will have national security implications for decades.”

By Park Han-na (