WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An influential senator on Friday expressed strong concerns about Japanese company Softbank Corp's plan to buy 70 percent of Sprint Nextel, the No. 3 mobile service provider, warning it could expose the United States to more Chinese cyber attacks.

"I have real concerns that this deal, if approved, could make American industry and government agencies far more susceptible to cyber attacks from China and the People's Liberation Army," Senator Charles Schumer said in a statement.

"We must proceed with extreme caution before allowing something as vital as our communications and Internet infrastructure from falling into the hands of foreign company with reported ties to China," said Schumer, a New York Democrat.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Jackie Frank)

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