Huawei asks U.S. to explain its exclusion from emergency network project

The Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor says it was barred from taking part in the project due to national security concerns

China's Huawei Technologies has called on the U.S. Department of Commerce to explain why the company is apparently being excluded from participation in the construction of a national wireless network for emergency responders.

The Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor said that the Department of Commerce told it last week that it was barred from taking part in the project due to national security concerns. The company's participation would have involved testing the interoperability of elements of the wireless network, which is meant for use by police officers, firefighters and emergency workers.

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Huawei said on Wednesday it had asked the Department of Commerce to explain which U.S. government body had denied the company's participation in the project.

The blocking "could have a chilling effect on our greater U.S. business activities and accountability needs to be defined appropriately," said William Plummer, Huawei's vice president of external affairs, in a statement.

The Department of Commerce could not be reached for immediate comment.

Huawei is a Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer that also builds smartphones and tablets. The company's activities in the U.S., however, have faced repeated opposition from U.S. government authorities on the grounds that Huawei has connections to the Chinese military.

One of the most recent cases occurred earlier this year when Huawei decided to divest from acquiring a U.S. startup after a government panel requested the company reverse the deal. Huawei then released an open letter, asking the U.S. government to investigate the company in an effort to clear its reputation as a potential security risk.

Part of the security worries stem from fears that technology bought from Huawei could be secretly used by Chinese authorities to spy on U.S. activities. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei also previously served in China's People's Liberation Army as an engineer before starting the company.

Huawei, however, has repeatedly defended itself, adding that there is no evidence to show the company has violated any security rules.

In the company's statement issued on Wednesday, Huawei's Plummer noted that the company has been "unfairly challenged due to vague supposed security concerns that have never been substantiated."

"Playing Huawei as a pawn in some geopolitical game of chess is dong nothing more than threatening U.S. jobs, investment, competition and innovation," he said.

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