LG U+ plans test to allay U.S. security concerns

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LG U+ plans test to allay U.S. security concerns

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Lee Sang-chul

LG U+ said yesterday it will seek a security test by an overseas agency on Huawei equipment to ease concern by the United States over the impact of its deal with the Chinese company on the U.S. security in Korea.

“We have never had any problem regarding security, but if they are unsure about it, we are willing to do the test,” said Lee Sang-chul, CEO of the Korea’s third-largest mobile carrier, during a year-end meeting with reporters in Seoul. “I will say it again, there will be no problem over security [of Huawei equipment for LG U+] whatsoever.”

LG U+ decided in October to use equipment from Huawei Technologies, the world’s second-largest telecom equipment maker, in construction of its long-term evolution (LTE) base stations across the country.

The concern - reiterated last month by Democrats Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee - is part of growing suspicions of China’s intelligence-gathering activities in the territories of U.S. allies. The United States has 28,500 military personnel in Korea.

“Maintaining the integrity of telecommunications infrastructure is critical to the operational effectiveness of this important security alliance,” the two senators said, according to Reuters.

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee last year called for U.S. mobile operators to abstain from doing business with Huawei.

LG U+ has denied that its deal with Huawei compromises security, saying the Huawei equipment it will use in Korea is the same type tested and sold to the United Kingdom. Huawei, which depends on overseas markets for 70 percent of its revenue, has provided equipment to 45 of the world’s top 50 mobile operators for the services in about 140 countries.

“I don’t know why they take issue only with LG U+ products or with Korea,” said Lee.

Huawei also has dismissed suspicions as “groundless” and “puzzling.”

“Huawei has a proven track record of providing secure products and solutions to our customers. There has never been even one incident where Huawei’s commitment to security has been called into question,” the Chinese company said in a statement.

LG U+ said in a statement yesterday that it will seek a test from the Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement, a U.K.-based popular recognition institute.

Lee said LG decided on Huawei as its partner not only because of its technology and low cost, but its willingness to provide a solution. He dismissed suspicion that the deal with Huawei is LG’s group-wide effort to sell the products of its other affiliates, such as LG Chem and LG Display, to Huawei.

Some raised suspicions that Samsung Electronics is helping fan the growing controversy about Huawei security for LG U+. Samsung, together with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks, already has been providing equipment to LG U+.

Lee did not mention the rumor but said LG’s partnership with Huawei should be a boon for Samsung as it will help Samsung’s sales of mobile phones in China.


BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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