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Huawei secretly helped N. Korea build wireless network: report

People walk past a Huawei retail store in Beijing, on June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- China's Huawei Technologies Co. secretly helped North Korea build and maintain its commercial wireless network, The Washington Post reported Monday, citing internal documents and people familiar with the arrangement.

    The telecommunications giant partnered with Panda International Information Technology Co., a Chinese state-owned entity, on a variety of projects in North Korea for at least eight years, the paper said in its online edition.

    The report raises concerns that Huawei, which used American technology in its components, may have breached U.S. export controls by supplying North Korea with equipment.

    It also comes amid heightened trade disputes between the United States and China, and while U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to advance denuclearization talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

    Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said his administration must "find out" about the alleged secret ties between Huawei and Pyongyang.

    "We'll have to find out," Trump said, when asked about the report.

    According to the paper, the U.S. Commerce Department has been investigating alleged links between Huawei, a leader in next-generation wireless 5G networks, and North Korea since 2016, but has never publicly connected the two.

    Huawei said in a statement that it "has no business presence" in North Korea. But company spokesman Joe Kelly declined to address detailed questions such as whether Huawei had conducted business there in the past, the paper said.

    The Trump administration views Huawei as a national security threat given that its equipment could be used for cyberespionage. Huawei denies such allegations.

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