Washington – “It has come to light that the foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology to launch cyber attacks as well as for espionage in the economic and industrial sectors. At the same time, affiliates linked to the adversaries possess the ability to control the US companies in the information and technology sector and use them against the security of the country. Considering the threat to the national security as also to the US economy, I hereby declare a national emergency with respect to the threats against information and telecom technology,” said US President Donald Trump while declaring an emergency against foreign telecom companies.
Although the executive order issued by Trump does not explicitly name any country or company, it is considered to be the next step against China and Chinese companies. Following the declaration of emergency, the US Department of Commerce published a trade ‘blacklist’ that included the Chinese company ‘Huawei’ along with 70 other companies. Trump’s emergency declaration and the subsequent ‘blacklist’ could add fuel to the flames of ongoing US-China trade war.
Notably, the US Federal Communications Commission has welcomed the emergency declared by President Trump. Reacting to it, Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission applauded the move and called it a significant step towards securing cyber and telecom networks in the US. However, on the contrary, China has voiced a sharp reaction over the issue. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has claimed that President Trump has been obstructing the bilateral trade relations between the United States and China whereas, the Chinese company ‘Huawei,’ whose name was added to the ‘blacklist’, has reiterated that its activities are not a threat to US security and that the company is not associated with the Chinese government.
However, with the emergency declaration and the ‘blacklist’, President Trump demonstrated that his stance against China has only become more aggressive. Only a few days ago, President Trump had hiked tariffs on Chinese goods, openly accusing China of violating the trade agreement. Following it, President Trump also threatened to slap tariffs on the entire Chinese imports into the United States. Furthermore, by declaring this emergency now, President Trump has directly targeted China.
Over the last one year, the Trump administration and the United States have adopted an extremely harsh stance against the Chinese company ‘Huawei’. Nevertheless, the US had already prohibited its agencies from using Huawei products. In December, Canada detained Huawei’s deputy chairwoman Meng Wenzhou, under directions from the United States. Later, in January, the United States filed a charge sheet, against ‘Huawei’. The charges filed included technology theft, fraudulent banking transactions, obstruction of justice and violation of sanctions imposed against Iran.
The United States had also started exerting pressure on its allies to take action against Huawei. ‘Huawei is owned by the Chinese government and has deep connections to their intelligence services. Therefore, this company presents a grave threat to the national security’, warned US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. After the pressure from the US, Australia and New Zealand too have declared a ban on the use of Huawei products.