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US expands sanctions on China's Huawei to limit technology access

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Washington (AFP)

The US administration Monday expanded its sanctions on China's Huawei, a move aimed at further limiting the tech giant's access to computer chips and other technology.

A Commerce Department statement added 38 Huawei affiliates around the world to the "entity list," claiming that the company was using international subsidiaries to circumvent the sanctions which prevent export of US-based technology.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Huawei and its affiliates "have worked through third parties to harness US technology in a manner that undermines US national security and foreign policy interests."

US officials have argued Huawei poses a security risk because of its links to the Beijing government, a claim denied by the company.

The toughening of sanctions comes amid heightened US-China tensions and claims by Washington that Chinese firms are being used for spying, despite repeated denials.

President Donald Trump has sought to ban the wildly popular mobile application TikTok if it is not divested by its Chinese parent firm ByteDance.

Speaking on Fox News Monday, Trump claimed that Huawei "comes out and they spy on our country -- this is very intricate stuff, you have microchips, you have things that you can't even see."

The Trump administration has banned Huawei from 5G wireless networks in the United States and has pressed allies to do the same.

In the meantime, Huawei became the largest global smartphone manufacturer in the past quarter, largely due to sales in the Chinese market, even as Washington moves to deny the company access to much of the Google Android system.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a separate statement that the Trump Administration "sees Huawei for what it is -- an arm of the Chinese Communist Party's surveillance state."

Pompeo said the new sanctions were imposed "to protect US national security, our citizens' privacy, and the integrity of our 5G infrastructure from Beijing's malign influence."

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