Pompeo announces Clean Path initiative to clean “untrusted” Chinese tech apps

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The Trump administration has made the announcement to remove “untrusted” Chinese tech apps like TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday, detailing a new five-pronged “Clean Network” effort aimed at curbing potential national security risks.

The following are related remarks of Pompeo at the press conference:

As I said at the Nixon Library this month, freedom-loving nations must come together to confront the CCP’s aggressive behavior. And the good news is the tide is absolutely turning. The central idea of distrust and then verify, I think the world is coming to see as the right approach to responding to these challenges.

And we are working in this administration, the Trump administration, hard to protect Americans from those threats.

In April, I announced our team’s Clean Path initiative to keep Americans’ data safe from untrusted vendors. Today, I’m pleased to announce the expansion of the Clean Network with the launch of five new lines of effort. I’ll walk through them quickly.

First, Clean Carrier. We are working to ensure that untrusted Chinese telecom companies don’t provide international telecommunications services between the United States and foreign destinations.

I join Attorney General Barr, Secretary Esper, and Acting Secretary Wolf in urging the FCC to revoke and terminate the authorizations of China Telecom and three other companies providing services to and from the United States.

Second, we call Clean Store. We want to see untrusted Chinese apps removed from U.S. app stores. President Trump has mentioned impending action on TikTok, and for good reason. With parent companies based in China, apps like TikTok, WeChat, and others are significant threats to the personal data of American citizens, not to mention tools for CCP content censorship.

Third, Clean Apps. We’re working to prevent Huawei and other untrusted vendors from pre-installing or making available for download the most popular U.S. apps. We don’t want companies to be complicit in Huawei’s human rights abuses or the CCP’s surveillance apparatus.

Fourth, Clean Cloud. We’re protecting Americans’ most sensitive personal information and our businesses’ most valuable intellectual property – including COVID vaccine research – from being accessed on cloud-based systems run by companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, China Mobile, China Telecom, and Tencent.

The State Department will work closely with Commerce and other agencies to limit the ability of Chinese cloud service providers to collect, to store, and to process vast amounts of data and sensitive information here in the United States.

Fifth and finally, Clean Cable. We’re working to ensure that the CCP can’t compromise information carried by the undersea cables that connect our country and others to the global internet.

Huawei Marine significantly underbids other companies on multiple procurements to connect Asia, the Pacific, Africa, and Europe using Chinese state-backed underseas technology.

We can’t allow that to continue. We call on all freedom-loving nations and companies to join the Clean Network.

Source: US State Department

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Pompeo highlights CCP’s threats to American’s national security at the press availability

SECRETARY POMPEO: 

I want to start, as I often do, with a few items on Communist China.

Since I was last here, the world has witnessed more examples of CCP efforts to coerce and control its citizens. Other nations and the U.S. have put out a number of statements.

We see it in Hong Kong, where authorities have delayed legislative elections, arrested pro-democracy activists, issued warrants for freedom-loving foreigners, including an American. I urge U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution while traveling to or in any place in China.

We see the CCP’s continuing ambition to control Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. And I commend the Treasury Department for using its Global Magnitsky authorities against human-rights violators there just this past week.

And we see, too, the CCP’s lawlessness elsewhere in the world. I issued a statement on Sunday about the Chinese-flagged vessels’ predatory fishing practices around the Galapagos Islands, which has alarmed our friends in Ecuador.

Look, these aren’t one-offs. As I said at the Nixon Library this month, freedom-loving nations must come together to confront the CCP’s aggressive behavior. And the good news is the tide is absolutely turning. The central idea of distrust and then verify, I think the world is coming to see as the right approach to responding to these challenges.

And we are working in this administration, the Trump administration, hard to protect Americans from those threats.

QUESTION: Great. Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary. Can you talk a little bit about the decision to send Secretary Azar to Taiwan, what the message is behind this trip? And as you probably know, the Chinese Communist Government says the visit endangers peace and stability, and it’s sending the wrong signals, and is urging for the trip not to proceed. What is your response to that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I won’t say anything about the decision other than the cabinet members have traveled to Taiwan previously. This is consistent with policies of previous times. He’s going there with a deep and important purpose. We’re still in a global pandemic. He’s going to go there and talk about Taiwan has had some significant success in how they have handled this. We have wanted them to be part of the conversations at the World Health Assembly that – China has prevented that from happening. And so he’ll go there and talk to them about public health issues as they relate to how we all move forward with respect to how we handle COVID and the opportunity for therapeutics and a vaccine as we move forward. And we welcome the expertise that Taiwan brings to that and he’ll have, I think, important conversations with them about that.

Source: US state department

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