THE United States has threatened to cut off Beijing-controlled China Telecom from serving the US market because of legal and security risks, announced the Justice Department. A recommendation by the Government’s top departments, including Defence, State and Homeland Security, said the Federal Communications Commission should “revoke and terminate” all authorisations for the Chinese giant’s US subsidiary, China Telecom, to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States.
“The Executive Branch agencies identified substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks associated with China Telecom’s operations, which render the FCC authorisations inconsistent with the public interest,” the Justice Department said in a statement Thursday. If approved, the move could mean China Telecom’s hundreds of millions of phone and internet customers -- it is China’s second largest mobile phone operator -- could lose connectivity with or through the United States.
The agencies making the recommendation -- which also included the Justice Department, the Commerce Department, and the US Trade Representative. The agencies also made the recommendation based on “the nature of China Telecom’s US operations,” which they said allow Chinese Government actors “to engage in malicious cyber activity enabling espionage and disruption of communications.”