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National security threat from cranes refuted

By Mo Jingxi | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-24 07:40

China on Friday refuted the United States' claim of potential threats to national security posed by China-built cranes at US ports and strongly opposed Washington's abuse of national power to suppress Chinese products and enterprises.

The remarks, made by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning, came after the US administration announced on Wednesday a plan to invest billions in the domestic manufacturing of ship-to-shore cranes to replace the more than 200 that come from China.

The move, part of a set of actions intended to improve US maritime cybersecurity, seeks to counter fears that the prevalent use of China-built cranes with advanced software at many US ports poses a potential national security risk.

"The so-called claim that China can remotely control the port cranes with software to collect data is entirely groundless," Mao told reporters at a regular news briefing in Beijing.

The spokeswoman said that China firmly opposed the US over-stretching the concept of national security. "To instrumentalize and weaponize trade issues will only exacerbate the security risks in the global industrial and supply chains. This benefits no one and will eventually backfire," she said.

Mao said it is hoped the US can earnestly respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, and foster a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies.

"China will continue to firmly safeguard the legitimate and lawful rights of its companies," she added.

Rear Admiral Jay Vann, head of the US Coast Guard's cyber command, told reporters on Tuesday that cranes from China account for nearly 80 percent of cranes at US ports.

Photos have shown that when US President Joe Biden delivered a speech during a visit to the Port of Baltimore in 2021, the Neo-Panamax cranes manufactured by ZPMC, or Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, were working behind him at the port's Seagirt terminal.

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