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China’s ZTE says probation ends after clash with Washington

The company had pleaded guilty to shipping equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of U.S. rules.

BEIJING (AP) — ZTE Corp. said Wednesday a U.S. judge has allowed a probation period to end after the telecom equipment maker was nearly destroyed in a clash with Washington over its dealings with Iran and North Korea.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump barred ZTE’s access to American components amid rising tension with Beijing over technology and security. The company had pleaded guilty the previous year to shipping equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of U.S. rules and agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine.

ZTE agreed to pay an additional $1 billion, replace its executives and be scrutinized by U.S.-appointed monitors to regain access to U.S. technology. The company sells smartphones and network equipment that use American processor chips and other technology.

The company, headquartered in the southern city of Shenzhen, said its probation ended as planned Tuesday after a federal judge in Texas declined to take further action.

ZTE promised in a statement to make compliance with laws and regulations “the cornerstone of its strategic development.”

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