BEIJING: Washington has revoked the US
licence of one of China’s biggest telecoms companies citing “national
Telecom must stop providing services in America within 60 days.
said the Chinese government’s control of the company gave it the opportunity
“to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications”.
turn could allow it “to engage in espionage and other harmful activities
against the US”, they said.
Telecom, which has provided telecoms services in the US for nearly 20 years,
called the decision “disappointing”.
plan to pursue all available options while continuing to serve our
customers,” a statement said.
Telecom is one of three companies that dominate China’s telecoms market. The
firm has hundreds of millions of customers in 110 countries, with services
ranging from broadband internet to mobile and landline telephone networks.
decision comes hours after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke to China’s
Vice Premier Liu He about the state of the global economy.
meeting had been seen as a sign of improving relations between the two
superpowers, which have recently exchanged barbs over trade and Taiwan.
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) warned it might shut down China Telecom
Americas in April 2020, claiming the firm “is subject to exploitation,
influence, and control by the Chinese government”.
the company was “highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese
government requests without… independent judicial oversight”.
It is the
latest Chinese telecoms firm to be targeted by US officials over national
year, the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE as threats to communications networks –
making it harder for US firms to buy equipment from them.
revoked China Mobile’s US licence in 2019, and is in process of doing so for
two other state-backed firms – China Unicom Americas and Pacific Networks.
cases, US officials cited risks that the Chinese government could use the
companies to spy on America or harm national interests.