China will launch an initiative to develop global standards to protect data security, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, in response to US efforts to persuade countries to prevent it from using Chinese technology in their networks.

Citing a draft it has revised by itself, the newspaper said: Under the new Global Data Security Initiative, China will call on all countries to deal with data security “in a comprehensive, objective and evidence-based manner.”

The report said that Chinese Foreign Minister (Wang Yi) will announce the initiative on Tuesday at a seminar in Beijing on global digital governance.

The US President (Donald Trump) administration has tightened restrictions on Chinese companies in recent months due to national security concerns.

Also today, China attacked the US government over potential export restrictions on SMIC, the nation’s largest chip maker.

The US Department of Defense said on Saturday: It is considering adding SMIC to the so-called Entity List of the Department of Commerce, which would make it difficult for the company to obtain parts made in the United States, which could harm production.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry (Zhao Lijian) accused Washington of “blatant hegemony”, adding that Beijing “strongly opposes” such actions.

“China has taken an official position on the unjustified US crackdown on Chinese companies,” Zhao told reporters. “For a period of time, the United States popularized the concept of national security and used state power to place all kinds of restrictions on Chinese companies,” he added.

If the US adds SMIC to the entities list, it could escalate the tense trade war. Given that there are sometimes few or no alternatives for American parts, they may face severe difficulties in developing or maintaining their plants.

This, in turn, could hinder customers, including Huawei and other tech giants, and China could extend its retaliation and harm US companies that rely on Chinese manufacturing and spare parts for their products.

China has put a lot of emphasis on developing the domestic semiconductor industry, a move that gained momentum amid the trade war with the United States. However, SMIC still lags behind competitors, such as Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung, in terms of technology.

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