U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said he expects President Donald Trump’s attempts to ban the WeChat and TikTok apps to “ultimately” succeed.
Moves by the Trump administration to restrict the Chinese-owned social-media platforms in the U.S. for what it said were national security reasons have been put on hold as a result of court injunctions. WeChat and TikTok users have argued that the bans have been motivated by election year politics rather than genuine security concerns.
“We’re now looking — those court cases are ongoing, so the federal government will wait and see what our courts tell us we can or can’t do with respect to those bans,” O’Brien said at an event in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. “I think ultimately the president’s authority with those bans on those apps will be enforced. And I think even if there’s a change in administration, those bans will take place.”
President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, has promised to review security risks surrounding the TikTok app.
The administration is also looking at other Chinese companies that have popular apps in the U.S. “that are taking a lot of data from the American people,” O’Brien said. “We’re taking a look at those apps as well and there could be some action. We’ll have to see what the president decides to do.”
O’Brien repeatedly took jabs at China.
China has to learn to play by international rules, and shouldn’t act as though it owned the South China Sea “like it’s some lake,” he said.
China’s expansive territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea have put it at odds with Southeast Asian neighbors including Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. The U.S. has sent warships and aircraft near disputed areas for decades to assert the freedom to navigate through what it considers international airspace and waters.
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