US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he had met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, adding that Pichai “stated strongly that he is totally committed to the US military”.
The news comes on the heels of accusations in the media that the US-based tech giant had indirectly provided help to the Chinese military by conducting business in the Asian nation.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2019
On 14 March, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford told Congress that the Pentagon is concerned that Google is indirectly helping to advance the Chinese military by working in the country.
US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan explained that there is a direct link between commercial business and military development. He also claimed that the systematic theft of US technology by Chinese entities is accelerating Beijing’s technological advancements in the defense sector.
Google publicly exited the Chinese market in 2010, citing concerns about the repression of freedom of expression online. However, the company has reportedly been mulling whether to re-enter that market.
In recent years, China has come under increasing criticism over its alleged wide-spread theft of intellectual property and economic espionage, with Chinese businesses being accused of stealing trade secrets from foreign companies to incorporate those firms’ technologies into their own devices and passing off counterfeit goods as products of famous brands, among other things.
The alleged violations of intellectual property rights have, in particular, soured China’s relations with the United States, with the issue being among those that prompted Trump to unleash a trade war on Beijing.