Trump Asks Government to Minimize Procurement from China

In a statement, Robert O’Brien said China is targeting the information systems of the US government to obtain personnel records, military plans, and other data through cyber and other means.

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Days before leaving office, President Donald Trump on Friday took another action against China by directing government department to find ways to minimize procurement of Chinese goods and services to neutralize or at least reduce the risks from espionage. According to his national security adviser said, the move was aimed at reducing the risks from espionage.

In a statement, Robert O’Brien said China is targeting the information systems of the US government to obtain personnel records, military plans, and other data through cyber and other means.

“For this reason, the US must take corresponding actions to protect its national interests. We must adjust our regulations and policies and take various other necessary actions to minimize the risk of PRC technical and human espionage activities directed at the US Government,” he said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

The official said the outgoing president had directed government bodies to conduct reviews “to reduce the procurement of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) goods and services by the US Government.”

He did not explain the kinds of procurement he referred to. However, a senior administration official said a critical aim was to repel Chinese attempts to infiltrate US IT networks.

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He particularly pointed towards the Chinese kit components, which could cause vulnerabilities to the US interests.

“Anything having to do with Chinese entities, going to have kit components in the US network could potentially become a vulnerability.” He added that it could potentially be used to further China’s military-civil fusion strategy.

“If there’s hardware, for example, that would make its way into our networks that could pose a potential vulnerability.”

The announcement comes less than a week before the Republican president leaves office to be succeeded by Democrat Joe Biden on January 20. 

Trump’s move was the latest in a series of moves targeting China, which experts see as a bid to lock in an unbending approach to Beijing.

The president has pursued hard-line policies toward its Asian rival on issues ranging from trade to espionage and the COVID-19. Relations plunged to their worst level in decades when he ramped up the rhetoric in his failed re-election campaign.

 

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