The latest Chinese telecommunications behemoth to be barred from entering the United States due to “significant” national security and espionage worries is China Unicom.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it had unanimously voted to terminate the company’s authorization to operate in the United States.
Within 60 days, the company must cease offering telecoms services in the United States.
The news comes after China Telecom’s license to operate in the United States was terminated in October.
“There has been mounting evidence – and with it, a growing concern – that Chinese state-owned carriers pose a real threat to the security of our telecommunications networks,” said FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
Its American unit “has a good record of complying with relevant US laws and regulations and providing telecommunication services and solutions as a reliable partner of its customers in the past two decades”, said China Unicom. “China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited will closely follow the development of the situation,” it added.
There was no comment available on the issue from the Chinese Embassy in Washington.
US authorities have targeted Chinese technology and telecoms corporations in recent years due to national security concerns.
President Joe Biden approved legislation in November prohibiting corporations deemed a security danger from obtaining new telecoms equipment licenses.
The FCC should no longer evaluate applications from organizations deemed a threat under the Secure Equipment Act.
It means Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies’ equipment can’t be utilized in US telecommunications networks.
The US government also added a dozen more Chinese firms to its restricted trade list in November, citing national security and foreign policy concerns.
According to Washington, some of the companies are assisting in the development of the Chinese military’s quantum computing program.
In October, Washington canceled China Telecom’s US license, citing national security concerns as well.
The Chinese government’s control of the corporation, according to US authorities, allowed it to “access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications.”
They said that this in turn could allow it “to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the US”, they said.
China Mobile, the country’s state-owned telecoms company, had its US license canceled in 2019.
(Adapted from BBC.com)