TikTok must be sold or blocked in the United States for national security reasons, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the latest warning released by the Donald Trump government against the popular Chinese-owned app.
Mnuchin stated on the ABC television network that TikTok simply “cannot exist as it does” currently.
“I will publicly say that the entire committee agrees that TikTok cannot remain in the current format because it risks sending information (to China) about 100 million Americans,” Mnuchin alleged.
The official did not comment directly on the threat made by Trump on Friday to ban in the United States the application created to share entertainment videos and which is already around one billion users worldwide.
Mnuchin recalled that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which he chairs, is evaluating TikTok, especially popular with a young audience that creates and watches its short videos.
This is one of the many fronts in the strained relations between the United States and China, which have become very rough these days. US officials have said that TikTok could be a tool at the service of Chinese intelligence, something the company denies.
The secretary assured that he spoke with the leaders of the Congress, among them the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the maximum democratic legislator in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, about what to do with the TikTok operation in the United States.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, had offered to sell the US branch, while several claimed that the tech giant Microsoft is in advanced negotiations to buy it.
However, Vanessa Pappas, responsible for the US branch of the application, said the day before that the company has no “plans” to leave the United States and said the rumors of the sale were “speculation”.