US President Donald Trump’s administration has labelled four more Chinese companies, including Beijing’s top chipmaker SMIC and oil giant CNOOC, as being controlled by the country’s military, the US Department of Defense (DOD) has said.
“Today, the Department of Defense released the names of additional ‘Communist Chinese military companies’ operating directly or indirectly in the United States,” the DOD release said on Thursday.
The companies are China Construction Technology Company (CCTC), China International Engineering Consulting Corp. (CIECC), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), the Defense Department said.
“The Department is determined to highlight and counter the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Military-Civil Fusion development strategy, which supports the modernization goals of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by ensuring its access to advanced technologies and expertise acquired and developed by even those PRC companies, universities, and research programs that appear to be civilian entities,” the release said.
The total number of blacklisted companies now stands at over 30. Earlier, the Department had released its initial list of companies to Congress in the month of June.
Amid the rising tension between the countries, US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has said China is the greatest global threat to democracy and freedom since the end of World War II, calling for a bipartisan response to counter Beijing’s growing influence.
Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Ratcliffe on Thursday said, “China intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically. Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Citing examples of several arrests made by the FBI in recent times, the Intelligence Chief said, “China robs US companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology, and then replaces the US firms in the global marketplace.”
The State Department under Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have pursued staunch policy measures against the Chinese government amid the growing tension between the two nations over several issues including trade, Covid-19, and China’s military aggression, CNN reported.
On Thursday, the Trump administration had reduced the US visitor visa validity period for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials and their family members from ten years to one month. Prior to that, on Wednesday, the US House passed a law to push Chinese companies off US stock exchanges if they do not fully comply with the country’s auditing rules.
These moves are among the series of actions taken by the Trump administration, setting a tone for the US President-elect Joe Biden taking office in the month of January.