US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has vowed that President Donald Trump will take action “in the coming days” to deal with Chinese software companies that the White House claims are feeding data to Beijing.
Appearing on Fox News’ ‘Sunday Morning Futures’ show, Pompeo claimed the practices of the Chinese tech companies currently in the administration’s sights, including TikTok and WeChat, pose “true privacy issues for the American people.”
“For a long time the US just said ‘Well, goodness, if we’re having fun with it, or if a company can make money off of it, we’re going to permit that to happen,’” he explained, adding that this approach would soon be changing.
“President Trump has said ‘enough’ and we’re going to fix it, and so he will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks,” Pompeo said, referring to the companies which he claimed are “connected to the Chinese Communist Party.”
Pompeo’s comments come after Trump told reporters on Friday that he was going to ban the massively popular Chinese video-sharing app TikTok in the US within 24 hours, possibly through an executive order. He has not yet followed through on that threat, however.
TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is reportedly in talks to divest its American operations in a deal with Microsoft, in an effort to avert a ban and come to a deal with the White House. But sources told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday that the talks were put on hold over Trump’s opposition to the idea.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has also weighed in on the fate of the Chinese-owned app, saying that the US is “not keeping TikTok in its current form.”
TikTok, along with fellow Chinese app WeChat, has denied the accusations of collecting information to feed to the Beijing government, insisting that they keep their users’ data secure.
On Saturday, TikTok’s US General Manager Vanessa Pappas released a video message assuring the app’s tens of millions of US users that it is “not planning on going anywhere” and is in the country “for the long run.”
Tensions between Washington and Beijing have been mounting for months. Before targeting TikTok, the US launched an international assault on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, also labeling it a security threat and attempting to strong-arm other nations into banning its technology. Beijing claims the US’ accusations are groundless and were only intended to remove a Chinese competitor from the US market.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!