Computer digital technology, global surveillance. Photo: iStock
China intends to keep a closer watch on its technological assets. Image: iStock

As the US-China trade war expands, Beijing plans to establish a system to ensure “national security” in technology, state media reported Saturday. The move coincides with Washington’s crackdown on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

The powerful National Development and Reform Commission has been tasked with establishing a list system to “more effectively forestall and defuse national security risks,” the Xinhua news agency said.

Xinhua did not elaborate or state whether the move was linked to the trade war but said “detailed measures will be unveiled in the near future.”

Washington and Beijing resumed their trade battle last month when talks in Washington ended without an agreement and US President Donald Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, to which Beijing retaliated with its own tariff hike on billions worth of American goods.

The trade war has intensified in recent weeks with Washington’s move to blacklist the Chinese tech giant Huawei over national security concerns, threatening the company’s global ambitions.

The US Commerce Department placed Huawei on an “entity list” on national security grounds on May 16, a move that curbs its access to American-made components it needs for its equipment. A 90-day reprieve was later issued.

“Based on what I know, China is building a management mechanism to protect China’s key technologies,” Hu Xijin, the influential editor of the Chinese daily Global Times, said Saturday on Twitter.

“This is a major step to improve its system, and also a move to counter US crackdown. Once taking effect, some technology exports to the US will be subject to the control,” Hu said.

China accuses Trump of trying to undermine Huawei’s development because the company is the world leader in next-generation 5G mobile technology and faces no American competition.

Following Washington’s move, Beijing on Thursday said it would draw up its own blacklist of “unreliable” foreign companies, which could target American and international firms that have cut off supplies to Huawei.

– with reporting by AFP

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