The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has revoked permission for China Telecom a Chinese state-owned telecommunications company, to operate in the United States, citing national security concerns.
Tuesday’s decision by the FCC, which regulates all telephone, wireless and video communications in the United States, requires the company’s subsidiary, China Telecom Americas, to discontinue all services within 60 days, ending its 20-year operations in the U.S.
The agency said the firm’s control by the Chinese government raises “significant national security and law enforcement risks” by providing it opportunities to “access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute U.S. communications, which in turn allow them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States.”
A spokesperson for China Telecom, China’s largest telecommunications company called the FCC decision “disappointing,” adding that the company plans “to pursue all available options while continuing to serve our customers.”
The decision is the latest move by the U.S. government to limit access to U.S. technology and markets to Chinese-based telecommunication companies that began during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
The FCC designated Huawei Technologies and ZTE as national security threats last year, barring the company from accessing U.S. data over concerns it would use its new 5G network to spy on Americans.
China Telecom and two other state-owned firms, China Mobile and China Unicom, were removed from U.S. stock exchanges earlier this year after the Trump administration issued an order banning Americans from investing in them.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.