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A decision by the United States to ban China Telecom from operating in the country on national security concerns is ‘malicious suppression’, Beijing said Thursday, warning it would damage a tentative thaw in relations.
Tensions are high between the world’s two biggest economies on a plethora of fronts, including trade, human rights, Taiwan and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week Washington ordered China Telecom Americas to discontinue its services within 60 days — ending nearly two decades of operations in the country and piling further strain on relations between the superpowers.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said China Telecom’s “ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks”.
The FCC added that this gave Beijing opportunities “to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications,” which in turn allowed them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the US.
But Beijing rejected the move as a “generalisation of the concept of national security, abuse of national power and malicious suppression of a Chinese company without basis in facts”.
Commerce ministry spokeswoman Shu Yuting told a press briefing that China’s economic and trade team has “lodged solemn representations” with the United States and that Beijing is seriously concerned by the ban.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK