SOFTBANK’S CHINA TIES
President-elect Donald Trump announced this week that Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., a major telecommunications firm, will invest $50 billion in the United States and create 50,000 new jobs.
The announcement followed a meeting between Mr. Trump and SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son at the Trump Tower in New York.
“Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!” Mr. Trump tweeted Tuesday.
But the investment commitment is raising concerns in some U.S. national security circles because of SoftBank’s past relations with China’s Huawei Technologies, the Chinese governmentlinked telecommunications giant that has been linked to the Chinese military and intelligence service.
SoftBank has collaborated with Huawei in setting up a high-tech wireless network in Japan’s Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka corridor.
“Joint innovation efforts have been taking place between Softbank and Huawei with the aim of simplifying network deployment,” Huawei said on
its website of the joint efforts.
One U.S. national security official said SoftBank’s dealings with Huawei should raise red flags. “They should be told that if they do business with us, they don’t do business with China,” the official told Inside the Ring.
SoftBank in 2013 purchased a controlling stake in the U.S. wireless carrier Sprint.
Huawei in 2008 was blocked from purchasing the U.S. telecommunications company 3Com over concerns the Chinese company would gain technology that could benefit China’s military.