White House defends allowing China's ZTE to buy US parts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is defending its decision to allow Chinese telecom giant ZTE to buy component parts from the U.S.

Spokesman Hogan Gidley on Wednesday pointed to "massive penalties" imposed on ZTE as part of what he describes as "historic enforcement action" after the company was accused of violating sanctions.

The company agreed to pay a $1 billion penalty and replace its top managers.

Gidley says the changes ensure ZTE pays for its violations and gives the U.S. government "complete oversight" of its activity.

The Republican-led Senate has been working to try to reverse the deal with a provision to a must-pass defense package.

Gidley says the administration will work with Congress to make sure the National Defense Authorization Act conference report "respects the separation of powers."