US asks Asian allies to act against Chinese tech clout

The U.S. has asked its allies in the far east to stem the market of Chinese tech-giant in the region, media reports said on Thursday.

The U.S. State Department will hold a closed-door workshop in Thailand with South Korean Foreign Ministry officials and business representatives to look for ways to tap into the communication equipment market in Southeast Asia, Seoul-based daily Chosunilbo reported.

The step comes after Washington accused Huawei of spying on its customers for Beijing, asking long-time ally South Korea to restrict use of Huawei.

"The U.S. keeps telling the Foreign Ministry through various diplomatic channels that using could create security problems," the newspaper said.

It added that Washington seeks to use Seoul-based tech company Samsung to "make sure that Huawei equipment does not spread any further in East Asia."

Maintaining a military presence of 28,000 troops in South Korea, the U.S. has asked Seoul to restrict Huawei mobile services from "sensitive areas" within Korea, presumably where U.S. military has installations, the report said.

"Huawei must ultimately be driven out of Korea," the newspaper quoted an unnamed U.S. official, adding that the South Korean Foreign Ministry acknowledged Washington's concerns.

However, Seoul has remained guarded against the proposition, as any decision against Huawei would adversely affect its own businesses.

Meanwhile, Tokyo-based Kyodo news reported that major Japanese mobile phone service operators would also halt sales of new Huawei smartphone handsets.

It said telecommunications and e-commerce companies KDDI Corp., Rakuten Inc., NTT Docomo Inc., and SoftBank Corp. would delay planned sales of new Huawei smartphone models, initially scheduled to begin later this month.

President last week signed an executive order declaring a national emergency over "threats against information and communications technology and services" in the U.S., slapping Huawei with sanctions and blacklisting the country from doing business with U.S. firms.

However, Huawei said that a ban on its business would only hurt the U.S. interests.

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