• NYSE backs away from executive order on Chinese companies
  • Shares in Chinese firms surged in pre-market trading
  • Beijing said the delisting was a political ploy

Three Chinese telecom firms aren't being booted from the New York Stock Exchange after market officials decided to defy President Trump, who insists Beijing is modernizing its military with U.S. investments.

Trump called for the delistings in a Nov. 12 executive order, maintaining that China is using American dollars to finance everything from intelligence to cyber attacks to weapons of mass destruction. The president's directive, effective Jan. 11, bans dozens of companies -- from tech start-ups to oil giants.

Late Monday, NYSE anounced China Telecom Corp. (CHA), China Mobile Ltd. (CHL) and China Unicom (CHU) won't be delisted.

In a statement, the exchange explained NYSE it reversed course after “further consultation” with U.S. regulators, but didn't disclose any details.

Several indices such as the S&P Dow Jones Indices have followed the executive order, though few if any have delisted the three Chinese telecom firms, Reuters reported.

Trump has portrayed China as the greatest threat to the United States, triggering a trade war with the second-largest economy in the world and blaming Beijing for unleashing the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the weekend, the China Securities Regulatory Commission called the delisting push disruptive and politically motivated.

"We hope the U.S. sides will respect the market and the rule of law, and do more to protect the order of the global financial market, safeguard investors' lawful rights and interests and promote the steady development of the world economy," the spokesperson told China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese companiesaccount for about 20% of the foreign income on U.S. stock exchanges, according to Francis Lun, the CEO of Geo Securities in Hong Kong. The reversal, he told Reuters, is “a smart thing to do.”