CHINA has warned the US it is ready to retaliate against "unreasonable suppression" of Chinese companies like Huawei.
China's foreign ministry warned the US it must stop the "unreasonable suppression" of Chinese companies like Huawei, while government officials are said to be mounting a list to be ready to retaliate against Washington. It comes after Donald Trump's administration moved to block global chip supplies to its blacklisted company Huawei Technologies, spurring fears of Chinese retaliation and hammering shares of US producers of chipmaking equipment.
When quizzed over whether it would take retaliatory measures against the US, China said it will firmly defend its companies' legal rights.
Meanwhile, China's Global Times newspaper on Saturday quoted a source close to the Chinese government saying that Beijing was ready to take a series of countermeasures against the US.
This includes putting US companies on an "unreliable entity list" and imposing restrictions on American companies such as Apple Inc , Cisco Systems Inc and Qualcomm Inc.
The newspaper, published by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, said the source also mentioned halting the purchase of Boeing Co airplanes.
The source told the Global Times: "China will take forceful countermeasures to protect its own legitimate rights" if the US moves forward with the plan to change rules and bar essential suppliers of chips, including Taiwan-based TSMC, from selling chips to Huawei.
Tensions between the world's two largest economies have spiked in recent weeks, with officials on both sides suggesting a hard-won deal that defused a bitter 18-month trade war could be abandoned months after it was signed in January.
In addition to the move on Huawei, the US Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees billions in federal retirement dollars, this week also said it would indefinitely delay plans to invest in some Chinese companies that are under scrutiny in Washington.
The US has advised countries to boycott Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecoms equipment, in setting up new 5G mobile phone networks over concerns the equipment could be used by China to spy on communications.
It comes after the US put China on alert, with a senior Trump ally hitting back at Beijing over findings that Chinese state-backed hackers were trying to sabotage US research on a coronavirus vaccine.
The US hit back at China, with acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf condemning Chinese attempts to sabotage US vaccine research.
Earlier this week, the FBI confirmed reports that hackers from Iran and China had been discovered trying to steal information about COVID-19 vaccine research in the US.
The warning from the US official today comes amid an escalating standoff between Beijing and Washington over the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
US officials are investigating whether the virus came from a wet market or escaped from a Wuhan lab where intelligence sources suggest it was being studied.
This has impacted US-China trade talks and ramped up military fears as the US intensifies pressure on China in the South China Sea.
Speaking with Fox News, Mr Wolf said the sabotage efforts from Chinese spy agencies were "so that they can be at the cutting edge of that research".
He said: "What our Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, along with the FBI, did this week is to put out an advisory making sure that individuals, when it comes to COVID-19 research, understand that we have some bad actors.
"China specifically, cyber actors. Also some nontraditional actors, such as journalists and other researchers are targeting our intellectual property when it comes to that research, targeting individuals such as our own researchers when it comes to this.
"This isn't a surprise. We know that China for a very long time have been very bad actors in the cyberspace."