LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — TikTok is to be banned from UK government phones, British media reported on Thursday, before an expected statement to parliament.

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden is to address MPs later on “security of government devices”, according to the parliamentary schedule.

There was no immediate confirmation but the BBC and Sky News reported that a ban on the Chinese-owned video-sharing app was imminent.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office has kept tight-lipped this week when asked repeatedly about security concerns.

On a visit to the United States on Monday, Sunak said the government took the “security of devices seriously”.

“We look also at what our allies are doing,” he added.

The Sunday Times last weekend reported that cyber-security experts had advised the government to recommend the removal.

TikTok is owned by China’s ByteDance and has long insisted that it does not keep data in China or share it with Beijing.

A British ban on the app on official devices would follow ones in the European Union, as well as in the United States.

US officials have said that if TikTok parts ways with ByteDance it would avoid a wider national ban.

On Thursday, the foreign ministry in Beijing called on Washington to stop “unreasonably suppressing” TikTok, which claims more than a billion global users.

“The US has so far failed to produce evidence that TikTok threatens US national security,” spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters.

— AFP

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