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International relations

US weighs revoking China Telecom's license

Regulator likely to accept recommendations from government agencies

The U.S. is afraid of possible theft of data and cyberattacks. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday said it would consider revoking a business license granted to Chinese state-owned telecommunications giant China Telecom.

The administration is concerned that the Chinese government will launch cyberattacks or steal information through China Telecom and has identified the company as a national security threat.

U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense have advised the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees telecommunications companies, to revoke and suspend China Telecom's license. The company has an international telecommunications business in the U.S.

The FCC is known for its cautious stance regarding China and is likely to accept the recommendations.

China Telecom rebutted the move by saying it has "been extremely cooperative and transparent with regulators," indicating that it would urge the U.S. to review the consideration.

In May 2019, the FCC rejected an application by China Mobile, China's largest state-owned telecommunications company, to enter the U.S. The regulator's response to China Telecom, which had obtained a license in the past, has been closely watched.

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