Top US aide expects tough action on TikTok, WeChat

SAN FRANCISCO: White House trade advisor Peter Navarro said on Sunday (Jul 13) he expected President Donald Trump to act firmly against the TikTok and WeChat applications, amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Trump last week had said he is considering banning the wildly-popular TikTok app as a way to punish China over the coronavirus pandemic.

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In an interview with Fox News, Navarro argued that "what the American people have to understand is all of the data that goes into those mobile apps that kids have so much fun with … goes right to servers in China, right to the Chinese military, the Chinese Communist Party."

He said these apps can be used to steal intellectual property. "So expect strong actions on that" by Trump, Navarro warned.

READ: India asks court to stymie potential challenge to Chinese app ban

Fast-growing video-sharing app TikTok belongs to the Chinese group ByteDance and has nearly one billion users worldwide.

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TikTok has sought to distance itself from its Chinese owners, pointing out it has an American CEO and consistently denying allegations that it shares data with Beijing.

WeChat, owned by Tencent, is the main messaging application in China with more than one billion users.

Navarro also accused TikTok's new boss Kevin Mayer, former head of Disney's streaming platforms, of being an American puppet.

READ: Commentary: Is national security a good reason to ban TikTok?

On Friday, Amazon said it _