US Concerned over Chinese Telecom Companies Operating in Israel

US National Security Adviser John Bolton raised concerns to Prime Minister Netanyahu about the use of Chinese telecommunications equipment in sensitive sectors in Israel, a US official told Reuters, specifically referring to Chinese technology and investment at the port in Haifa

National Security Adviser John Bolton with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AP)

Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton raised US concerns on Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the use of Chinese telecommunications equipment in sensitive sectors, a senior administration official familiar with the matter told Reuters.

“We are all concerned about theft of intellectual property and Chinese telecoms companies that are being used by China for intelligence-gathering purposes,” the official said.

According to the report, the Trump administration has taken a series of steps aimed at curbing market penetration by Huawei and ZTE, two of China’s biggest network equipment makers. Both companies have denied that their products are used to spy.

The administration does not want any obstacles to being able to share sensitive information with the Israelis, the senior official told reporters ahead of the meeting, referring to the concerns about Chinese technology and investment at the port of Haifa. “We specifically put it on the agenda,” the official said.

The Netanyahu government gave the green light in 2013 for China’s Shanghai International Port Group to operate a private port in Haifa – a major harbor for the US Sixth Fleet, the report adds.

In December 2016, Huawei acquired Israel’s HexaTier, whose technology secures databases in the cloud, for $42 million. Later that month, the Chinese tech giant also acquired IT research firm Toga Networks for an undisclosed amount.

ZTE has also shown interest in Israel’s tech sector since sending a senior delegation to the country in 2013, Reuters adds, based on Israeli media reports

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