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China opposes U.S. revocation of licence for China Telecom

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China "resolutely opposes" Washington's revocation of China Telecom Corp Inc's licence to operate in the United States, the information ministry said on Wednesday, urging a reversal of the move.

The U.S. decision, made public a day earlier, means the U.S. subsidiary, China Telecom Americas, must discontinue services in the United States within 60 days.

"In recent years, the United States has repeatedly sanctioned Chinese companies on the grounds of national security and disregarding facts," the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said in a statement.

"This is an unreasonable suppression of Chinese enterprises by abuse of state power and a serious breach of international economic and trade rules," the Chinese regulator added.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cited national security concerns for its vote last month to revoke the authorisation for China Telecom’s U.S. subsidiary.

In April 2020, the U.S. government said China Telecom targeted its mobile virtual network at more than 4 million Chinese Americans; 2 million Chinese tourists a year visiting the United States; 300,000 Chinese students at American colleges; and the more than 1,500 Chinese businesses in America.

On Wednesday, China Telecom told China Daily, a newspaper published by the ruling Communist Party, that it adhered to compliance requirements in all its markets, including the United States, and added that the FCC's decision lacked justification.

Soon after the decision, a spokesperson for China's commerce ministry said Beijing had made a formal complaint about it.

In March, the FCC began efforts to revoke authorisation for China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet to provide U.S. telecommunications services.

In May 2019, the FCC voted unanimously to deny another state-owned Chinese telecommunications company, China Mobile, the right to provide U.S. services.

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Kim Coghill)

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