President Trump will meet a group of Capitol Hill lawmakers to discuss the issue of ZTE later today as tensions surrounding China’s telecom company continue to rise in both the United States and the Far Eastern country. The meeting set to take place later today will include representatives from both the Senate and House, according to White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters who referred to this week’s anti-ZTE amendment as “problematic,” without clarifying on the matter. The lawmakers set to attend the meeting are yet to be named.
The Shenzhen, Guangdong-based original equipment manufacturer has been making headlines for over two months now, having first been hit with a crippling denial order in April that saw the Commerce Department forbid American companies from providing it with any kind of technologies over a seven-year period. The ban issued over violations of stateside trade sanctions imposed against North Korea and Iran, as well as subsequent violations of their settlements, was replaced with another deal earlier this month as ZTE pledged to pay another $1 billion fine and agreed to a broad range of concessions, including major management changes and a board overhaul. While the new settlement effectively saved ZTE from certain bankruptcy, its Chairman Yin Yimin reportedly still referred to its conditions as “disastrous” for the firm, having apologized to the tech giant’s employees for the uncertainty that its past behavior caused.
Earlier this week, the Senate voted to amend a must-pass annual defense bill with a clause that would reinstate the ban and prevent the federal government from purchasing any kind of equipment from either ZTE or Huawei, both of which have been publicly labeled as national security risks due to their close ties to Beijing despite denying such allegations for years. The Senate’s anti-ZTE push still has to a supermajority vote in the House or the President would be able to veto it otherwise, though doing so would effectively shut down the government due to the must-pass nature of the defense bill.