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U.S. will likely ask Japan, allies to join ban of Chinese apps

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government will likely ask Japan and other countries to ban Chinese apps including TikTok, amid increasing concern on information leaks to Beijing, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.


Keith Krach, undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment at the U.S. State Department, referred to the envisaged U.S. arrangements with other countries during a press conference with some Japanese media on Wednesday.


With the United States weighing a ban on TikTok, a video-sharing app, Washington will likely ask Tokyo to take similar measures, observers said.


The U.S. government, deeply concerned over possible information theft by the Chinese government, has asked other countries not to allow telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. to take part in their 5G projects.


Krach said, “We will soon be expanding the clean path initiative beyond 5G to include clean apps” to highlight Beijing’s lack of transparency.


During a separate interview in early July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will properly handle the TikTok issue, as it has with Huawei. Using TikTok could put personal information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, Pompeo said.


Krach praised India’s move to ban TikTok in late June, saying, “India’s leadership, coming up with their clean app program, was big.”


As to whether the U.S. government would ask Japan and other U.S. allies to follow suit if Washington decided to ban TikTok, Krach said the United States would “respect Japan’s sovereignty.”


Meanwhile, Krach expressed expectations that Japan will act in concert with the United States, saying the ban should be imposed to deepen the “solidarity and unity with U.S. allies.”


By Yuya Yokobori / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent

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