‘(They) use their telecom companies to spy on us…for commercial secrets…They want to control global telecom…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said President Donald Trump is making a mistake by including ZTE, a Chinese company selling telecommunications equipment, in his trade negotiations with China.
Rubio said ZTE has nothing to do with trade and, instead of appealing to this foreign company, the White House should be taking steps to further restrict its ability to sell equipment in the U.S.
“It’s a mistake. I’ve told that to the White House. I’m going to tell it to the President, and I have told him in the past,” Rubio said in an interview on Fox News. “ZTE has nothing to do with trade. Nothing.
“The Chinese use their telecom companies to spy on us. Not just spy on us for national security, they spy on us for commercial secrets, steal stuff from us. They want to control global telecom.”
Rubio’s response follows Trump’s announcement via Twitter that ZTE is playing a role in the administration’s trade negotiations with China.
“ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies. This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi,” Trump tweeted on Monday.
ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies. This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2018
ZTE has been the focus of rising national security concerns, however.
Earlier in May, the Pentagon ordered retail outlets to stop selling ZTE phones.
“Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to the department’s personnel information and mission,” a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. “In light of this information, it was not prudent for the department’s exchanges to continue selling them.”
Rubio said the Trump administration should take further action and cut off all trade relations with ZTE. The U.S. will never benefit from a company that “steals our secrets,” he said.
“We shouldn’t sell them any chips because they are trying to put us out of business. They steal our secrets. They reverse engineer the things that we do. Their goal is to dominate telecommunications, all technology in the world,” Rubio said. “And they’re doing it by stealing from us.
“We should not be helping them. I do not shed one tear for ZTE or Huawei, or any of these companies. Chinese companies backed by the Chinese government have put plenty of American companies out of business. And they’re doing this to undermine us economically, geopolitically, and from a national security perspective.”