China hits back at Trump’s move to blacklist Huawei

Huawei Technologies issued a statement saying it was “ready and willing” to engage with the U.S. government to ensure product security. © AFP/Jiji

TOKYO — Beijing hit back on Thursday at U.S. President Donald Trump’s move that paves the way for a total ban on American companies doing business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies.

Responding to Trump’s signing of an executive order that prohibits American companies from using foreign information technology and services deemed a national security risk, China’s Commerce Ministry said it opposed other countries imposing unilateral sanctions on Chinese entities.

“China has emphasized many times that the concept of national security should not be abused, and that it should not be used as a tool for trade protectionism,” ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing, without mentioning the U.S. in name. “China will take all the necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese companies,” he said in comments reported by Reuters.

Trump’s move has greatly increased pressure on Beijing on both the security and trade fronts. Earlier this month, the president claimed that China had reneged on concessions made during five months of trade negotiations.

Separately on Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry said that two Canadian citizens detained in the country had been formally arrested. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig has been charged with gathering state secrets, and businessman Michael Spavor has been held on charges of stealing secrets for overseas forces.

The pair were detained in December, shortly after the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder Ren Zhengfei. Meng, who is currently out on bail in Canada, faces possible extradition to the U.S. to face charges of skirting American trade sanctions with Iran and stealing trade secrets.

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