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(LEAD) U.S. notes need to reassess sensitive info sharing with allies amid anti-Huawei drive: VOA

All News 13:33 June 11, 2019

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; ADDS more info, details from 6th para)

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department has said it will need to reassess how to share sensitive information with allies if there are "untrusted vendors" in their communications networks, a department official was quoted as saying.

The official made the remarks in response to a question by the Voice of America (VOA) about South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae's recent dismissal of concerns over the use of products from Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

"Given how interconnected we are and how much we depend upon each other, if our allies' networks are vulnerable, those vulnerabilities pose a security threat to the United States as well," VOA quoted the official as saying Monday.

"As we will not expose sensitive information to unacceptable levels of risk, that means we will need to reassess how we share such information with our allies and partners if there are untrusted vendors in their networks," the official added.

Washington recently has been prodding its allies and other partner countries to stop using Huawei products on security grounds amid growing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris has also voiced concerns over the security of the fifth-generation (5G) wireless network.

"We are naturally concerned about the security implications of how the 5G network will be instantiated across Korea," Harris said during a security forum in Seoul on Friday. "But as allies and friends, I am confident that we will work through all of these issues together.

The campaign against Huawei has been putting Seoul in an increasingly difficult diplomatic position, when South Korea seeks to strengthen the security alliance with the U.S. and strategic partnership with China.

Seoul's foreign ministry has reportedly been seeking to form a task force to handle a range of issues stemming from an intensifying Sino-U.S. rivalry.


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