China tells US to avoid politicizing investment

BEIJING (AP) ? China appealed to Washington on Friday to avoid politicizing investment after a congressional panel said it would look into whether Chinese technology firms operating in the United States pose a security threat.

A foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin, said Chinese companies operating abroad obey the law and act according to market principles.

“We hope the U.S. side will not politicize our economic cooperation,” Liu said at a regular news briefing.

The U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee said Thursday it will investigate whether allowing Chinese companies to expand in the United States might aid Chinese electronic spying. It cited Huawei Technologies Ltd. and rival ZTE Corp., makers of telecommunications gear, as being among the companies to be examined.

The House panel said it will look into the role Chinese companies play in supplying components for U.S. telecoms systems and whether access to those systems might allow foreign governments to gather information.

A U.S. government report issued this month accused China and Russia of systematically stealing American high-tech and economic data. It said such cyberattacks were increasing and were a “persistent threat” to American economic security.

Huawei, founded in the 1980s by a former Chinese army engineer, has grown into one of the world’s biggest suppliers of telecoms gear. It efforts to expand in the United States have been hampered by security concerns.

In February, Huawei said it would unwind its purchase of a U.S. computer company, 3Leaf Systems, after it failed to win approval from a panel that reviews foreign acquisitions for possible security threats.

Following that setback, Huawei publicly invited U.S. authorities to investigate the company. It rejected allegations that it has ties to China’s military and might be a threat to American national security.

In 2008, Huawei and an American partner, Bain Capital, withdrew a request for U.S. government approval of a bid to buy 3Com. The companies said they failed to satisfy national security concerns.