+ Monday August 26th, 2019

In a case of extremely unfortunate timing, Huawei’s slow recovery from the bad news of being banned from buying from US companies seems to have suffered a bit of a blow today.

The Washington Post has reported that Huawei has – indirectly, mind you – been involved in the building of North Korea’s national wireless network called Koryolink.

In particular, a former Huawei employee has allegedly given the WaPo documents showing that Huawei provided equipment via an intermediary company – Panda International Information Technology – to a North Korean joint venture which built the Koryolink network.

It seems to be a bit of a low bow, but the documents do paint some kind of link between Huawei and the secretive North Korean regime. The WaPo reports that the US Commerce Department opened a probe into these events back in 2016, and since then, it has either declined or failed to conclude there was a link here.

For its part, Huawei denied any involvement in current business in North Korea, but stopped short of denying its past involvement as alleged by the Post. While declining to authenticate the source documents, Huawei did not deny that they appeared to be Huawei-sourced materials.

It’s a bit of a complex story, so we don’t propose to explore it in depth here, but if Huawei has been involved in supplying technology to North Korea (albeit old, 3G network technology that probably doesn’t matter anymore) then there’s some questions that probably need answering.

Those questions would be a lot more intense, and justifiably so, if it were 5G network technology, or something a little more cutting edge.

However, from what we understand, Koryolink offers a very severely limited service to North Koreans and visiting foreigners – international calling isn’t generally permitted, there’s no Internet access, and coverage is limited to a few key cities and highway routes.

It’s an interesting story .. but really, I think in terms of Huawei news, people are more interested in finding out whether the company’s long association with Android will continue post August 19 when the current exemptions to the US DOC Entity List expire.

Chris Rowland   Managing Editor

Chris Rowland

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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Jeni SkunkchrisHuaweieeDarrenAntiSpy Recent comment authors
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is that picture from NK? looks cool


Right so 3g, old tech. Why not blame linux distros for suppluying source code that they surely use.
Get the facts first before jumping to conclusions.

Ausdroid Reader

Because there is a difference between NK getting free open source hardware from the web and getting proprietary hardware from a company that is most certainly not supposed to be doing business with them.


I realise, I am highlighting the ability to source something via an alternate route. If Huawei sold equipment to a client who onsold to NK then why is it their fault ? If they didn’t supply equipment directly and knowingly then they are not doing business with NK. I am only keeping an open mind and giving them the benefit of the doubt. It certainly reads like they have knowingly supplied comms equipment to NK but are we going to ban all the luxury car brands because Kim has a garage full of luxury cars ? Who is supplying all… Read more »

Jeni Skunk
Ausdroid Reader

8 years ago, 3G was the current mainstay. 4G was the new tech. So when this was taking place, it was not involving old tech. Back then, old tech was 2G and earlier. There are two obvious issues of sanctions evasion involved. The direct one is China to NK using the Chinese state owned firm Panda International Information Technology Co Ltd. With Huawei supplying PIIT for at least 8 years, Huawei would have had to know how and where their hardware was being used, so Huawei were aiding the Chinese Govt in breaking sanctions on NK. Now China were worried… Read more »


final nail in the coffin

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