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China tells US to stop abusing Huawei and ZTE

By Hugh Wilson

Comments come after US telecom regulator designates companies as national security risks

China has told the US to stop using the concept of national security to “abuse” companies like Huawei and ZTE.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the comments after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to designate the companies as national security risks.

By doing so, the FCC barred rural US telecoms companies, many of which rely on Huawei equipment in their data networks, from tapping into an $8.5bn (£6.6bn, €7.7bn) government fund to buy equipment.

In a further move against the Chinese tech giants, the FCC also proposed forcing US customers to replace equipment previously supplied by the firms, at an estimated cost of around $2bn.

The FCC cited the companies' "close ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus" and "Chinese laws requiring them to assist with espionage" as reasons for the decision.

Huawei hit back, saying the decision was based on "innuendo, and mistaken assumptions',' adding that it would have "profound negative effects on connectivity for Americans in rural and underserved areas across the United States".

The FCC decision is the latest in a series of actions against Huawei in particular. The company is subject to a US export ban after claims in Washington that its equipment could be used for spying. Last month Huawei admitted that it is struggling to find alternatives to the Google apps that usually sit on its Android-powered smartphones.

The FCC decision comes at a delicate time, with the China and US locked in tense negotiations to end a trade war now in its 16th month.

FURTHER READING: Huawei suffers as US security sanctions bite

FURTHER READING: Huawei CEO signals its openness to license 5G tech to American firm

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