Papua New Guinea to work with Huawei despite external pressure

Papua New Guinea (PNG) government will work with China-based Huawei Technologies to build its internet infrastructure, dismissing offers from Western countries to take on the work, Reuters reported.
Huawei booth at MWC 2017Earlier, the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government was under pressure from countries such as Australia, Japan and the United States to cancel an existing order to source Internet equipment from Huawei, the largest telecom networking maker in the world.

Some of the Western nations believe that Huawei works with China military and its equipment could be a source for collecting intelligence information.

“We have an existing agreement. It’s about honor and integrity, once you enter into a deal and an arrangement you go with it,” William Duma, minister for public enterprise and state investment, told Reuters on the telephone from Port Moresby.

The comments from the minister are a blow to Australia, Japan and the United States, which have tried to persuade PNG to dump the Chinese company, amid broad efforts to limit China’s influence across the Pacific.

Huawei won a tender to build a network in the South Pacific nation two years ago. Australia, Japan and the United States recently mounted an 11th-hour counter offer. Huawei had done about 60 percent of the work on the project.

Huawei said in 2016 it would build a 5,457 km (3,390 mile) network of submarine cables linking 14 coastal towns in the resource-rich nation of 8 million people.

Australia, which has shut Huawei out of contracts to build its own national mobile network on security grounds, blocked the company from laying submarine cable from Sydney to PNG and the Solomon Islands in July.

Western intelligence agencies have said Huawei’s technology could be used for espionage – something the company denies.