Donald Trump now wants to save ZTE and everyone's confused

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ZTE, one of China's leading technology companies, has announced it will end "major operations", after the USA government barred American firms from doing business with the telecom equipment maker.

President Donald Trump's administration banned sales of USA parts to Chinese phone maker ZTE.

The whole thing led many to speculate about whether or not Trump had another reason for his sudden about-face on ZTE. ZTE added that the company continues to communicate with the USA government with the goal of modifying or reversing the order.

The ban is the result of ZTE's failure to comply with an agreement with the US government after it pleaded guilty a year ago to conspiring to violate USA sanctions by illegally shipping USA goods and technology to Iran, the Commerce Department said.

ZTE paid over $100 million each to Qualcomm Inc, Broadcom Inc, Intel Corp and Texas Instruments, the official said.

And the Federal Communications Commission recently moved toward prohibiting U.S. Internet providers that receive federal funds from spending them on equipment made by companies such as Huawei, another major Chinese telecom player. While a stock exchange filing from the firm revealed it ceased its main operations following the sanction earlier this week, an unnamed official from the manufacturer told CNET that doing so "does not mean we're going away".

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ZTE announced Wednesday that "the major operating activities of the company have ceased".

Given that US sanctions were imposed on ZTE due to threats to national security and its violation of trade sanctions with Iran and North Korea, Trump's desire to give the company another chance in the truly unexpected. "Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done", Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.

The firm suspended operations earlier this month after U.S. authorities banned American companies from supplying to it. The person reiterated ZTE's recent point about its cash reserves which allow it to stay afloat over the troubled period, though it's still unclear how large those holdings actually are, i.e. how much time could they buy. Last week, Telstra said it would stop sales of ZTE smartphones, though it indicated it was "hopeful that ZTE will be able to reach a resolution to this matter soon so that we can recommence selling Telstra-branded ZTE devices".

Lacking critical equipment, ZTE halted operations, stressing in a statement Wednesday that it is "actively communicating with the relevant US government departments in order to facilitate the modification or reversal" of the Commerce Department's order.

But U.S. officials said this year that ZTE didn't discipline all the employees involved in the violations.