China on Thursday lauded the Biden administration’s move to replace Trump-era executive orders to ban TikTok and WeChat, among other apps, as a “positive step.”
“We hope that the U.S. will treat Chinese companies fairly and avoid politicizing economic and trade issues,” Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said at a news briefing Thursday, adding that the move was a “positive step in the right direction,” according to The Associated Press.
On Wednesday, the White House replaced executive orders Trump made against the Chinese apps with a new executive order calling for an “evidence-based” analysis of transactions involving apps that are controlled, supplied or created by China.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reportedly urged the U.S. “to stop generalizing the concept of national security and abusing state power to suppress Chinese technology enterprises,” adding during a news briefing that Beijing will continue to protect its interests.
The Trump administration’s efforts to ban TikTok and WeChat was blocked by courts last year, though the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has said that it is still conducting a national-security review of TikTok, the AP noted.
The Biden administration stated in February that it would take a more targeted approach to dealing with apps like TikTok, noting that it has not yet weighed whether Americans could have their personal data exposed by apps with ties to China if the ruling party forces companies to share that information.
On Wednesday, a Biden senior official noted that former President Trump’s moves to ban Chinese apps were not “always implemented in the soundest fashion.” He also told the AP that the review would set specific criteria in order to evaluate security and privacy risks for each app.
“We want to take a tailored, tough approach here,” the official said.
Chinese companies and officials have said that their products and apps do not pose any security threat, the news service reported.
Biden has tried to ease tensions with Beijing in comparison to the previous administration’s confrontational rhetoric.
The White House has framed the U.S. as in stiff competition with China and focused on the need to rebuild America domestically to counter Beijing. The Biden administration, however, has also taken a firm stance against China’s human rights abuses and unfair trade practices.