China on Thursday urged the US to stop "harassing overseas companies" and slammed US President Donald Trump's decision to sign a national emergency order that prohibits American firms from using foreign-made equipment, citing espionage fears.
The US move, which effectively takes aim at Chinese telecom giant Huawei, comes as the two economic superpowers are locked in a bitter unending trade war.
"Nobody sees this move as constructive or friendly and we urge US to stop using such practices," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters.
Lu said China opposes countries that create problems using national security as an excuse.
He, however, added that foreign companies operating in China lawfully had nothing to be concerned about.
"When Chinese companies are wrongly treated, China has the right to take necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests," the spokesperson said, adding that his country "always asks its companies to comply by local laws and regulations when they operate overseas".
China's Commerce Ministry also urged the US not to implement the executive order that bars American companies from using telecommunications equipment made by Huawei.
"The executive order is an abuse of national security and unilateral trade sanctions," the Ministry's spokesperson Gao Feng told reporters.
According to state-owned TV network CGTN, Gao also asked the US to respect market economy rules and build a transparent and unbiased commercial environment for foreign companies.
The White House said on Wednesday that Trump took the action to thwart "foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services in the US.”
However, it made no direct reference to China, with whom Washington is engaged in a bitter trade dispute.
The executive order does not automatically impose restrictions on the purchase of telecommunications equipment but gives US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross 150 days to determine which companies must be subject to new restrictions because they pose a danger to US security.
Huawei said the decision by the Trump administration to put restrictions on its activities in the US will only harm the interests of American companies and consumers.
In a statement, the tech giant called the restrictions "unreasonable" and said they would "infringe upon Huawei's rights and raise other serious legal issues".