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Trump administration blocks China Mobile from US telecommunications market

China Mobile Photo: Sohu

The Trump administration has blocked China's largest wireless network operator China Mobile from the US telecommunications market amid the escalation of tensions between the world's two biggest economies over trade disputes, US media reported.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a branch of the US Commerce Department, on Monday recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deny China Mobile's request to provide cell phone and other communication services between the United States and other countries. The operator's application was submitted in 2011.

"After significant engagement with China Mobile, concerns about increased risks to US law enforcement and national security interests were unable to be resolved," David J. Redl, spokesman for the US Commerce Department, said in a statement.

"Therefore, the executive branch of the US government, through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration [NTIA]... recommends that the FCC deny China Mobile's Section 214 license request."

China Mobile, which has nearly 900 million mobile customers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Asked at Tuesday's press conference, Lu Kang, spokesman for Chinese foreign ministry, said: "The Chinese government encourages Chinese companies conduct their business in accordance with market principles and international rules. "We urge the US side to discard outdated cold war mentality and zero-sum game concept and take actions to create a fairer environment for Chinese investment."

Heightened tensions

The move by the NTIA came at a time of heightened tensions between the US and China over trade disputes.

In April, the US Commerce Department announced plans to ban American companies from selling vital components to China's state-owned technology giant ZTE because the company had violated trade bans with North Korea and Iran.

However, under pressure from Beijing, the Trump administration struck a new deal with ZTE earlier this month to end the ban in exchange for an additional fine and a drastic management overhaul.

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