Chinese telecom companies like Huawei, ZTE pose serious threat to US national security: Sen. Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio will continue pursuing legislation to limit Chinese telecom companies' presence in the US

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File Photo (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following the arrest of Huawei’s CFO in Canada, as well as a recent report on the dangers of Huawei technologies in Taiwan, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is once again raising alarms about the threat of Chinese telecom companies like Huawei and ZTE.

Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, Marco Rubio on Dec. 9 said that because of the manner in which the government and companies operate in Communist China, telecom companies pose a serious threat to U.S. economic interests as well as national security.

Rubio said he would continue putting forth legislation in the new Congress, that would target companies like Huawei and ZTE. The Senator said the ultimate goal is to ban them from working with U.S. partners as well as block their products from entering the U.S. market.

In a quote from the interview, included in a press release, Rubio discussed the dangers posed by telecom companies operating under the authority of the Chinese government.

“Chinese companies are not like American companies. We can’t even get Apple to crack an iPhone for us in a terrorist investigation. There isn’t a single company in China that doesn’t have to do whatever the government tells them to do. They are legally required to do it, and trust me if they don’t do it, they’ll find a new CEO to run that company, or a new company to take that company’s place.

When the Chinese ask a telecoms company, ‘We want you to turn over all the data you’ve gathered in a country you’re operating in,’ they will do it. No court order, nothing like that, they will just do it. They have to. We need to understand that.”

In the case of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO, who is appealing for bail and awaiting extradition in Vancouver, Rubio noted that she is being held on charges related to violating international sanctions targeting Iran.

Reports allege that Huawei was operating a shell company in Hong Kong created expressly for the purpose of continuing to trade and make financial transaction with Tehran.

Given the case of ZTE, which was slapped with very serious penalties in the past for violating Iran sanctions, Rubio said that the U.S. government should seek similar penalties in the case of Huawei.

However, to the consternation of many lawmakers in the U.S. the Trump administration ultimately rescinded a large part of the fines and restrictions on ZTE, likely saving the company from bankruptcy. Some sources suggest this was done as a direct favor, asked by Chinese leader Xi Jinping of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Recently, however, ZTE is once again coming under congressional scrutiny for their work with the Venezuelan state telecom company, CANTV, to produce a social credit system and database in the South American country. Several top officials of CANTV are also the target of sanctions by the U.S. government.

Senator Rubio insists that Chinese telecom companies present a grave threat to U.S. interests, and says he will continue to urge the Trump administration to act to counter that threat.