Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 November 2019

Beijing slams US for 'unreasonable suppression' of China Mobile

American agency says allowing Chinese telco to operate would raise serious national security and law enforcement risks

US regulators have denied a request by China Mobile to operate in the country, saying the company's links to the Chinese government pose a national security risk. AFP
US regulators have denied a request by China Mobile to operate in the country, saying the company's links to the Chinese government pose a national security risk. AFP

Beijing on Friday slammed the US for the ‘unreasonable suppression’ of China Mobile after US regulators denied the telecom giant's request to operate in the US market over national security concerns.

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday said that because of China Mobile USA's ownership and control by the Chinese government, allowing it into the US market “would raise substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks”.

The decision brings the Chinese telecoms giant's eight-year effort to crack the US market to an end, but was not really a surprise since FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had publicly opposed the company's application last month.

“We urge the US to... stop the wrong practice of always using national security (as a pretext), and stop the unreasonable suppression of Chinese enterprises,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

“We also urge the US to provide a fair, impartial and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies investing in the US,” he said.

China Mobile - the world's largest mobile operator with nearly 930 million customers as of February - first filed an application for permission to operate in the US in 2011.

The five-member FCC said in a statement that the decision was made after “extensive review” and “close consultation” with national security and law enforcement agencies.

The move comes as Chinese tech firms - such as Huawei and ZTE - have faced stiff resistance from US government agencies, which have described them as security threats.

Denial of the China Mobile request came as the trade war between the two countries intensified, with the US increasing tariffs on Chinese products on Friday and Beijing vowing to retaliate.

Updated: May 10, 2019 03:18 PM

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