WASHINGTON: As part of its response to a Chinese spy balloon that traversed US airspace last week, the Joe Biden administration on Friday (local time) clamped down on sales of some of its technology to several Chinese aviation and technology companies, reported The New York Times (NYT).
The Commerce Department added five Chinese companies and one research institute to its so-called entity list, which will prevent companies from selling them American parts and technologies without a special license.
Alan Estevez, the undersecretary of commerce for industry and security, said the action directly responded to the Chinese government’s use of high-altitude balloons for surveillance, reported NYT.
“Today’s action makes clear that entities that seek to harm US national security and sovereignty will be cut off from accessing US technologies,” he said.
The spy balloon’s flyover from Alaska to South Carolina captured the attention of regular Americans and officials, before the US military shot it down off the country’s east coast on Saturday.
“The (People’s Republic of China’s) use of high-altitude balloons violates our sovereignty and threatens US national security,” said Estevez in a statement on Friday.
The six companies include Beijing Nanjiang Aerospace Technology Co; China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 48th Research Institute; and Dongguan Lingkong Remote Sensing Technology Co.
The other three are Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co.; Guangzhou Tian-Hai-Xiang Aviation Technology Co.; along with Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co.
The restrictions mark the Biden administration’s first economic retaliation over the balloon. The administration has registered chiefly its anger through diplomatic channels, including the cancellation of a trip by the secretary of state to Beijing.
Republicans had condemned the administration for not responding more forcefully, including by not shooting the balloon down before it moved out to sea. The White House said it was following the advice of the Pentagon, which feared the debris could hurt people on the ground.
The Chinese government has tried to downplay the incident, arguing that the balloon was a civilian device for monitoring the weather.
The Commerce Department did not specify whether the companies and the institute had played a direct role in developing or operating the balloon that flew across the United States. But the Biden administration said earlier this week that it would consider taking action against any entities that had aided the balloon’s flight, reported NYT.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the US government shot down another unidentified object near Alaska. It was not immediately clear which country or company was responsible for it. (ANI)