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Huawei asks US to investigate it for threats to national interest

Ian Grant

Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment maker, has called for the US government to make a formal investigation of the company to lay to rest allegations that it represents a threat to US national interests.

The open letter written by the deputy chairman of Huawei Technologies and chairman of Huawei USA Ken Hu, invited the US government to "clarify some long-standing and untrue rumours and allegations regarding Huawei".

Hu wrote: "We sincerely hope that the United States government will carry out a formal investigation on any concerns it may have about Huawei."

Hu said Huawei hoped to be key contributor to the US telecoms market, the world's biggest. "However, unfounded accusations have jeopardized our business activities, with many false claims driven by competitive interests, which we understand because competition can be difficult," he said.

Intelligence agencies have reportedly suspected that equipment from Huawei, a major supplier to BT's 21CN project, contains secret backdoors in the software that could let Chinese intelligence services read the traffic or take down critical national infrastructure networks. Huawei has always denied these claims.

Hu's letter stems from its decision not to pursue the acquisition of 3Leaf, a bankrupt Californian server maker. The decision followed a review by US authorities that oversee foreigners' acquisition of US assets for security reasons that concluded the deal should not go ahead.

A Congressional research report on the committee on foreign investment in the US (CFIUS), said that it's activities "often seem to be quite opaque, (but) the committee is not free to establish an independent approach to reviewing foreign investment transactions, but operates under the authority of the president and reflects his attitudes and policies".

It noted that foreign investors were also barred from direct investment in maritime, aircraft, banking, resources and power. This was to prevent public services and public interest activities from falling under foreign control, primarily for national defence purposes.


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