On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US could ban the hugely popular TikTok, along with other Chinese apps. The bombshell announcement came after India banned nearly 60 Chinese apps over security concerns. TikTok announced the same day that it will be pulling out of Hong Kong.
Vice President Pence made clear his stance against what he claimed could be Chinese interference into the US through apps.
In an interview with Fox News, Mr Pence said that the US will “continue to take a strong stand” against any threats to national security from China.
Pence’s words followed Mike Pompeo’s suggestion that Chinese apps share information with the Chinese government.
TikTok has denied the firm shares user information with President Xi Jinping’s government.
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Mike Pence made clear in the interview that the US will defend itself from “being compromised by the Chinese Communist Party”.
He said: “So these entities, whether it be Huawei and perhaps even TikTok, that represent a threat to the privacy and to the security of the country, we’ll continue to take a strong stand.”
On May 15, the US hit Huawei with new sanctions where the telecoms giant would need a license to ship foreign semiconductors to American factories.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business that Huawei were using loopholes in previous sanctions.
India took the landmark step of banning 59 Chinese apps on June 30.
The New Delhi government said that the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
TikTok denied sharing any data with the Chinese government and Beijing said it was “strongly concerned” over the Indian ban.
Experts have suggested the app ban is India’s retaliation to China’s role in the Galwan Valley clash last month, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
After the India ban and the US’ threats TikTok firm ByteDance said in a blogpost: “We are not influenced by any foreign government, including the Chinese government.
“TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future.”
TikTok has also been accused of burying Hong Kong pro-democracy protest videos on it’s platform.
Last year, a ByteDance spokesman told Bloomberg the videos weren’t deleted for political reasons, instead suggested they broke content guidelines.