China warns of retaliation for US stock exchange’s delisting of companies

BEIJING (AP) — China said on Saturday that it would take necessary countermeasures in response to the New York Stock Exchange’s (NYSE) announcement that it would delist three major Chinese telecoms, in the latest flare-up of tensions between Beijing and Washington.

The stock exchange said on Thursday that it would delist China Telecom Corp Ltd, China Mobile Ltd and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd, with trading of the companies to be suspended sometime between January 7 and January 11.

The move stems from an executive order United States (US)President Donald Trump issued on November 12 barring investment in publicly traded companies that the US government said are owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

“China opposes the Americans from abusing national security by listing Chinese companies into the so-called ‘Communist China Military Companies’ list and will take the necessary countermeasures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies,” a spokesperson for the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

The actions will also “greatly weaken all parties’ confidence in the US capital market”, the statement said. The ministry did not offer details on what the measures might be.

Under Trump, the US has stepped up economic sanctions and travel bans against Chinese companies, government officials and Communist Party members, especially recently in Trump’s last few weeks in office.

In December, the US announced plans to limit visas for members of the Chinese Communist Party and their family members to one month, instead of 10 years.

Chinese tech giant Huawei has been shut out of the US market and the US has lobbied other countries to follow suit, albeit with mixed results.

People wearing face masks talk on their cellphones near a booth for Chinese telecommunications firm China Mobile at the PT Expo in Beijing on October 14, 2020. PHOTO: AP