Top Stories
Top Stories
Tech

Huawei reportedly helped North Korea build its wireless network

Key Points
  • Documents leaked to The Washington Post revealed that Huawei secretly worked with the North Korean government on its wireless network.
  • The documents show that Huawei partnered with Chinese state-owned firm Panda International Information Technology on several projects over eight years, according to the Post, though it is unclear what role Huawei played.
  • Huawei has already been in hot water with the U.S. government and has been banned from some business with U.S. companies.
Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Huawei speaking with CNBC at Huawei headquaters in Shenzhen, China.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

Huawei worked with the North Korean government to build and maintain a commercial wireless network, The Washington Post reported based on people familiar with the situation and internal documents.

The documents show that Huawei partnered with Chinese state-owned firm Panda International Information Technology on several projects over eight years, according to the Post, though it is unclear what role Huawei played. The Post said it obtained work orders, contracts and spreadsheets from people who believed they would be of public interest, including a former Huawei employee.

A Huawei spokesperson told CNBC the company "has no business presence in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

"Huawei is fully committed to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate, including all export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US, and EU," the spokesperson said in a statement.

VIDEO1:3201:32
Lawmakers introduce bill to turn President Trump's Huawei ban into law

Panda Electronics Group, the parent company of Panda International, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new revelation could add additional speculation about a company that is already in hot water with the U.S. government. Washington banned a wide swath of sales to the Huawei earlier this year, citing national security concerns, thought it later softened the terms.

Tech executives from Huawei suppliers like Intel, Qualcomm and Google are meeting with White House officials Monday to discuss the Huawei ban.

In January, the Justice Department filed criminal charges against Huawei and its chief financial officer in two separate cases. The Justice Department alleged in one case that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile. In another case, the DOJ alleged CFO Meng Wanzhou violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by doing business with U.S-sanctioned Iran, among other charges.

The Commerce Department has previously investigated Huawei's ties to North Korea. In 2016, The New York Times reported the department issued a subpoena for information on the export of American tech to several sanctioned countries including North Korea. The Commerce Department declined CNBC's request for comment. The Post reported that the 2016 probe remains active, although the department has not publicly connected Huawei and North Korea.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

WATCH: Why the US thinks Huawei has been a massive national security threat for years

VIDEO4:4104:41
Why the US thinks Huawei is a massive national security threat