The United States has again banned a Chinese telecom company for fear of spying. After telecommunications company Huawei, now China Telecom’s US subsidiary system. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a government agency accused of overseeing telecommunications companies, decided on Tuesday to revoke China Telecom’s license. The company has been operating in the United States for 20 years, but now must stop all operations in the United States within 60 days.
According to the FCC, China Telecom “is subject to exploitation, influence and control by the Chinese government”. The FCC fears that the company will have to comply with Chinese government investigations “without proper legal process or independent legal oversight.”
China Telecom Americas views the decision as “disappointing” and has not yet resigned. “We intend to explore all possible options while continuing to serve our customers,” a spokesman told Reuters.
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The news comes at an unfortunate time. The decision came hours after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke via video link with Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He, who is a close confidante of President Xi Jinping and has been in charge of trade talks with the United States since its inception. Those discussions went very well: giving hope that the worst cold between the two powers had passed.
In April 2020, the FCC warned that the U.S. subsidiaries of three Chinese state-owned telecommunications companies could be shut down for security reasons. In March 2019, the FCC refused to issue a license application for telecommunications company China Mobile.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. However, since 2017, a state security law in China compels citizens and organizations to “support, assist and cooperate with the intelligence work of the state.” The denial of permission to Chinese companies in the US market will always refer to this law.
‘Practical, open and creative’
The impact of the US decision on US-China trade relations is not yet known. In fact, Yellen and Liu seemed to be getting closer in their conversation on Tuesday, the second in a short time. The talks also serve as a preparation for a possible virtual summit between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese president. That summit is set to take place this year.
The economic relationship between the United States and China seems to be improving, among other things, as is evident from the change in wording that describes the most recent conversation between the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and Yellen and Liu. Previous conversations were “open, practical and creative”, but this time they are “practical, open and creative”.
Both countries seem to be willing to do more than just scold each other in front of the cameras again. It happened During the meeting in Alaska In March this year, he met with US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen and China’s Supreme Representative for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi.
According to Chinese media reports, the talks will focus on the Sino-US trade agreement, the removal of taxes and sanctions and the fair conduct of Chinese companies. This, too, makes the conversations seem more substantial than ever.
Better bilateral relations between the two countries are important
This will benefit China: the country is struggling with the economic downturn, the real estate crisis and the energy crisis. Especially before the climate summit in Glasgow, better relations with China are important for the United States as well. The United States wants China to make more commitments there. The Chinese president promised in September 2020 that China would reach the peak of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and that carbon would be neutral by 2060. This is not enough for the United States and other countries.
China has previously said it does not want to negotiate with the United States on a separate topic of climate change. Climate talks, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in September, Will only succeed if tensions with the United States in other areas ease.
A version of this article was published in the morning NRC on October 28, 2021
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