China to protect 'legitimate rights' after US penalizes ZTE

FILE- In this Feb. 26, 2014, file photo, a sign for the ZTE booth is seen at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in

FILE- In this Feb. 26, 2014, file photo, a sign for the ZTE booth is seen at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in

BEIJING (AP) — China's government says it is ready to protect its "legitimate rights" after U.S. authorities penalized a Chinese telecoms equipment maker over a case involving exports to Iran and North Korea.

The Commerce Ministry said Tuesday it hoped Washington would treat ZTE Corp. fairly after U.S. authorities concluded it paid bonuses to employees involved in a scheme to ship equipment to North Korea and Iran instead of disciplining them as it promised in 2017.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday barred ZTE, one of China's most prominent technology companies, for seven years from importing American components.

The Commerce Ministry said Beijing will "stand ready to take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies."