The National Security Adviser said that US President Donald Trump, on Friday, directed another measure against China days before leaving office, government departments to consider ways to reduce purchases of Chinese goods and services to reduce the risk of espionage.
In a statement, Robert O’Brien accused China of targeting the US government’s information systems for personnel records, military plans and other data through electronic and other means.
For this reason, the United States should take similar measures to protect American interests. We must amend our regulations and policies and take other necessary measures to reduce the risks of human and technical espionage activities of the People’s Republic of China directed at the federal government, “he said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
He said Trump has directed government agencies to conduct reviews to “reduce the People’s Republic of China purchases of goods and services by the federal government.”
O’Brien did not provide examples of the purchases he referred to, but a senior administration official said the main objective was to counter Chinese attempts to penetrate US IT networks.
“Anything related to Chinese companies that will have group components in our network could become a vulnerability that could be used to continue China’s military-civilian integration strategy,” the official said.
“If there are devices, for example, that would make their way into our networks, that is the kind of thing that could pose a potential security vulnerability.”
The announcement comes less than a week before Trump leaves office to be succeeded by Democrat Joe Biden on January 20. It was the latest in a series of moves targeting China, which analysts see as an attempt to take a tough approach toward Beijing.
Trump has pursued hard-line policies toward China on issues ranging from trade to espionage and the coronavirus. Relations plunged to their worst levels in decades when he intensified the rhetoric of his failed re-election campaign.