DFA denies warning gov't over partnering with Huawei

DFA denies warning gov't over partnering with Huawei
A picture shows the Huawei logo and signage at their main UK offices in Reading, west of London, on April 29, 2019.
AFP / Adrian Dennis

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs denied that it has warned the Duterte administration over entering into partnerships with Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

The DFA on Tuesday issued a statement in response to a report published by Rappler earlier this week.

"This is regrettable as the published document clearly bears no such warning by the Department," DFA Assistant Secretary Emmanuel Fernandez said.

The DFA official, however, did not deny that such document was issued as it is calling on concerned agencies to look into the leak.

"More than anything, the Department is disturbed that a confidential document has been published, and it calls on relevant agencies to investigate the matter," Fernandez said.

In a supposed memo dated January 25, the DFA advised the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the National Security Council and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency that the Czech Republic and France have issued orders to limit the use of Huawei products.

A copy of the memo posted by Rappler indicated that in December 2018, the Czech Republic banned the use of Huawei and ZTE devices "due to possible cyber-security threats" based on an alert issued by the Czech National Cyber and Security Information Agency.

France, on the other hand, had supposedly implemented operator restrictions on Huawei in January "amidst concerns that China could spy on countries where it has a network presence."

The United States earlier warned that the countries entering into deals with Huawei, which makes 5G technology, risk handing over data to the Chinese government.

Despite this warning, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Philippines has not taken measures to address the security risks from Huawei.

“We are not doing anything on that one. We always mention that we are a free, sovereign country and we will do what we will have to do especially when it comes to economic development and promote things and pushing for inclusive economic growth,” Lopez said earlier this month. — Patricia Lourdes Viray with a report from Pia Lee-Brago

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