The United States has banned a Chinese phone provider due to "national security concerns"


Washington D.C
China Telecom, the largest Chinese telecommunications company, has had authorisation to provide telecommunications services for nearly 20 years in the US. (Reuters)

Due to security concerns, the US has barred China Telecom from operating in the country, further aggravating already strained relations between the giants.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ordered China Telecom Americas to stop operating in the United States within 60 days, bringing an end to a nearly 20-year presence in the country.

The FCC said in a statement that the company's "ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks,"

The FCC cited the risk that Beijing may use the company to eavesdrop on or disrupt US communications, as well as engage in "espionage and other harmful activities against the US."

"The FCC's ruling is unsatisfactory. According to Bloomberg News, China Telecom spokesman Ge Yu said in an email, "We plan to pursue all available options while continuing to serve our customers."

The action is the latest shot in a long-running feud between the world's two largest economies over various topics, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, human rights, trade, and technology.

Relations with the United States are tense.

China Telecom is the country's largest fixed-line operator, and its stock gained 20% in its Shanghai debut in August.

However, it has been beset by turmoil in the United States for years, particularly during Trump's presidency, when the previous president frequently clashed with Beijing over trade.

In April of last year, the US Justice Department threatened to sever China Telecom's ties with the US, claiming that US government agencies had "identified substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks associated with China Telecom's operations."

The statement on Tuesday raised fears of more sanctions against Chinese tech companies, and shares in such companies listed in New York were hammered.

Other Chinese telecoms, including private behemoth Huawei, have also been targeted by US regulators.

In 2018, Trump's White House launched an aggressive drive to stifle Huawei's worldwide ambitions by cutting it off from critical components and prohibiting it from utilizing Google's Android services.

Publish : 2021-10-27 14:12:00

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