Two US senators on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to reconsider his agreement with ZTE Corp, arguing that lifting a ban on the Chinese telecoms equipment maker poses “a significant threat” to national security, Reuters reports.
“ZTE, though publicly traded, is a state-backed enterprise that is ultimately loyal not to its shareholders, but to the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese government,” Senator Mark Warner, the Democratic vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Marco Rubio, a Republican member of the committee, were quoted as saying in a letter to Trump .
Several members of Congress, including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as some Democrats, have been pushing to clamp down on ZTE and Huawei, another Chinese telecoms equipment firm, citing national security concerns.
The issue is one of the few on which the Republican-led Congress has veered from White House policies since Trump became president in January 2017, Reuters noted.
Among other things, lawmakers are concerned that equipment from the companies could be used to spy on Americans.
But other lawmakers support Trump’s deal with ZTE, saying it is the president’s prerogative to conduct foreign policy.
ZTE ceased major US operations after the US imposed a ban in April. The Commerce Department said the company had broken a prior agreement by making false statements about disciplining executives involved in illegally shipping US goods to Iran and North Korea, which are subject to sanctions.
The company agreed to pay a US$1 billion penalty and put US$400 million in escrow as part of a settlement it reached on June 7 with the Commerce Department to regain access to the US market, which it needs for components.
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