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The United States called on South Korea to join the war against Huawei.

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The United States is putting pressure on the South Korean government, forcing Seoul to join the sanctions that Washington imposed on Chinese IT giant Huawei. South Korea found itself in a difficult situation, being drawn into a confrontation between its main political and trading partners.
"The US government has several times brought to our authorities its concern that the continued use of Chinese Huawei equipment may cause security problems ... Referring to the bilateral relations of the military-political union, Washington urged to take into account and accept his recommendations ... Documents, in which this position is contained, the United States has repeatedly sent to the Foreign Ministry of our country, "anonymous sources in government circles in Kazakhstan quoted Joseon Ilbo quoting.
The publication provides a concrete example of the pressure of US officials. Recently, during a conversation with a South Korean diplomat with an employee of the US State Department, the latter drew attention to the telecommunications equipment of LG U Plus, which was indoors. "In places where security and secrecy are required, you cannot use these systems. Maybe not immediately, but in the end South Korea will have to completely remove Huawei from its country," said the American, implying that LG U Plus is cooperating with Huawei and uses its equipment.

Thus, South Korea was in a very difficult situation. On the one hand, the United States, which is Seoul’s main military-political ally, is putting pressure on it, and on the other hand, China, which ranks first on the list of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade partners, has been turned.

According to Joseon Ilbo, South Korean officials tried to take an evasive position, not wanting to be drawn into such a confrontation, where they are forced to choose "either that or the other side." “We understand and to a certain extent share your concern. But from the standpoint of our government, there are certain limitations on how much we can influence the actions of our private companies,” replied representatives of Seoul. At the same time, Kazakhstan recognizes that it is difficult for them to completely ignore the demands of the United States, which "behave extremely aggressively."
Moreover, as it became known, the United States began to demand from South Korea that RK put pressure on its IT giants and not allow the distribution of Huawei equipment to the countries of Southeast Asia, where South Korean large electronic companies like Samsung, LG and others are actively working. According to Joseon Ilbo, closed consultations have begun today in Bangkok, where US State Department officials invited representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and South Korean companies operating in Southeast Asia. It is expected that at the event, Washington’s emissaries will call upon South Koreans to join the war against Huawei and to abandon the use of equipment both in their own country and in Southeast Asia.

Korean independent experts have already warned that if the South Korean government agrees with the demands of Washington and bans the use of Huawei equipment, the losses of local companies will be measured in billions of dollars. If Beijing decides to punish Seoul for acting on the side of the United States and imposes sanctions against South Korea, the damage will increase significantly. South Korea has just begun to normalize relations with Beijing, who have been seriously affected by the decision of Seoul to deploy the THAAD US missile defense system on its territory, and now another similar dilemma is when one has to break between the US and the PRC.

The South Korean firms nevertheless began to side with the United States. Thus, the two largest South Korean telecommunications firms SK Telecom and KT have excluded Huawei from the fifth generation 5G communication system providers.
According to other sources, several South Korean financial institutions and companies also listened to “recommendations from the United States” and began to abandon Huawei equipment. According to the Korea Times, NongHyup Bank, KOSCOM and a number of other Korean financial organizations have done so.

In November last year, a consortium of South Korean telecommunications company KT and Chinese Huawei were selected as winners of a tender for the installation of communication systems and information sharing at NongHyup branches throughout the country. However, a few days ago, the bank’s management suspended the project and, as expected, would eventually abandon the services of this consortium due to US pressure and participation in the Huawei deal. Sources note that the bank intends to continue using the equipment of Nokia, upgrading the system.

KOSCOM, which provides IT services for the Korea Stock Exchange Korea Exchange, also recently changed its mind to cooperate with Huawei, choosing Nokia. The reason is the same - the decision of the US authorities to impose sanctions on the Chinese company and the pressure of Washington on its allies with demands to join these measures.
It is highly likely that other South Korean financial giants such as Shinhan and Hana, which already use Huawei equipment, will follow this example. According to sources, the companies intend to change the equipment to that for which the US authorities have no complaints. Specialists say that Chinese equipment is cheaper and sometimes better in terms of technology than those offered by competitors, but there are concerns that Huawei equipment has “gaps” that allow PRC intelligence services to access information.

Recall that on May 15, US President Donald Trump signed a decree declaring an emergency in the United States and banning US companies from using telecommunications equipment manufactured by firms that pose a threat to the country's national security. Huawei got into this “black list” of companies, which had been repeatedly accused of collecting personal data of users and transferring them to Chinese authorities.

Source: Russian newspaper

23.05.2019 07:24:36
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