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Photo: Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Commerce may have issued a corporate death sentence to Chinese telecom equipment maker by banning American firms from selling to it for 7 years. The company condemned the ban today, but the U.S. is unlikely to reverse its decision.

The big picture: While the company may end up crippled, the episode has strategic and propaganda value for Beijing. The timing of the announcement — right before the 2nd anniversary of an important speech on cybersecurity and technology made by Chinese President Xi Jinping — only serves to strengthen the point he's been making about the need to reduce reliance on foreign, and especially American, technologies.

Between the lines: China cannot reduce its reliance overnight but they are closer than they were 2 years ago. The ZTE decision, especially in the context of the worsening U.S.-China relationship, will lead to a redoubling of the PRC’s efforts to de-Americanize its core information technology stack and achieve the goals laid out in the "Made in China 2025" Plan.

Go deeper: Xi looks prescient in his calls for China to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign technologies. From Xi’s April 19, 2016 speech, which was much lauded in Chinese media on the 2nd anniversary this week:

"Internet core technology is the greatest 'vital gate', and the fact that core technology is controlled by others is our greatest hidden danger. An Internet enterprise, however great its size is, however high its market cap is, if it critically relies on the outside world for core components, the 'vital gate' of the supply chain is grasped in the hands of others, this can be compared to building a house on another person’s foundation, however large or beautiful it is, it might not stand the wind or the rain, or might even collapse at the first blow. We must control the initiative of our country’s Internet development, guarantee Internet security and national security, therefore, we must make breakthroughs in this difficult area of core technology."

Meanwhile, Reuters reports today that plans are already underway to accelerate indigenous chip development:

"Senior Chinese officials have held meetings this week with industry bodies, regulators and the country’s powerful chip fund about speeding up already aggressive plans for the sector, two people with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters. ... A second person with knowledge of the talks said senior officials had met with key ministries, as well as the National Integrated Circuitry Investment Fund, 'this week' to discuss speeding up plans due to recent trade tensions."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”