The Trump administration said on it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from US digital networks and called the Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok and messenger app WeChat “significant threats”.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said expanded US efforts on a programme it calls “Clean Network” would focus on five areas and include steps to prevent various Chinese apps, as well as Chinese telecommunications companies, from accessing sensitive information on American citizens and businesses.
Pompeo’s announcement comes after US President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok. The hugely popular video-sharing app has come under fire from US lawmakers and the administration over national security concerns, amid intensified tensions between Washington and Beijing.
“With parent companies based in China, apps like TikTok, WeChat and others are significant threats to personal data of American citizens, not to mention tools for CCP (Chinese Communist Party) content censorship,” Pompeo said.
In an interview with state news agency Xinhua on Wednesday, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said the US “has no right” to set up the “Clean Network” and calls the actions by Washington as “a textbook case of bullying”.
“Anyone can see through clearly that the intention of the US is to protect its monopoly position in technology and to rob other countries of their proper right to development,” said Wang.
TikTok currently faces a deadline of 15 September to either sell its US operations to Microsoft or face an outright ban.