BY JIM KOURI
In the midst of a tight presidential race in which U.S. relations with China has become a major issue, U.S. lawmakers claim that two Chinese firms pose a serious threat to U.S. national security, according to a congressional panel that concluded their probe into espionage allegations and released a preliminary report on Monday.
The telecom companies, Huawei and ZTE, “should be [banned] from pursuing any mergers and acquisitions in the U.S., according to the House Intelligence Committee’s recommendations in its report.
“China’s top telecommunications gear makers should be kept [out] of the U.S. marketplace because they cannot be trusted to dodge Chinese state influence and thus pose a security threat,” Intelligence Committee leaders said.
They claimed the firms had failed to persuade the congressmen that associations between them and the Chinese government and military were not a threat. The China-based companies are listed as two of the world’s largest producers of telecommunications networking equipment.
Both Huawei and ZTE executives have categorically denied all allegations of espionage or theft of trade secrets.
This latest report will no doubt figure into the U.S. presidential campaign since China has been introduced into a number of economic and security issues. For example, since the United States is indebted to the Chinese for over $800 million, there have been accusations that the Obama administration has failed to address instances of cyber espionage perpetrated by theChinese government and its intelligence agencies.
But, during the tight presidential race, both President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney claim they plan on increasing the pressure on China on topics such as currency policy, state subsidies for Chinese firms, human rights violations,unionization, and theft of intellectual property.
Earlier this month, Mr Obama signed an order blocking a deal by a Chinese firm, Ralls Corp., to acquire four wind farm projects near a U.S. naval facility in Oregon. The Chinese governmentexpressed shock at that action since the Obama White House welcomed them with open arms early in his administration.
“U.S. intelligence must stay focused on efforts by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp to expand in the United States and tell the private sector as much as possible about the purported espionage threat,” the panel leaders noted in their report which summarizes their 11-month investigation of the Chinese firms.
The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Jim Kouri, CPP, is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Contact Jim.