As part of its response to a Chinese spy balloon that flew through U.S. airspace last week, the Biden administration imposed restrictions on the sale of some American technology to a number of Chinese aviation and technology companies on Friday.
Five Chinese businesses and one research institute were added to the Commerce Department’s so-called entity list. This means that businesses can’t sell American technologies and parts without a special license. The six organizations, according to officials, had aided Chinese military projects involving airships and balloons used for intelligence and reconnaissance.
According to Alan Estevez, the action was a direct response to the Chinese government’s use of high-altitude balloons for surveillance, which is the undersecretary of commerce for industry and security.
“Today’s action makes clear that entities that seek to harm U.S. national security and sovereignty will be cut off from accessing U.S. technologies,” he said.
The first economic retaliation by the Biden administration in response to the balloon, which was shot down last Saturday off the coast of South Carolina after circling most of the country. The administration has mostly expressed its displeasure diplomatically, such as by canceling the secretary of state’s trip to Beijing.
The administration has been slammed by Republicans for not reacting more forcefully, including by not shooting down the balloon before it reached the ocean. The Pentagon’s advice, the White House claimed, was being followed because it was concerned that the debris could injure people on the ground.
The Chinese government has attempted to minimize the incident by claiming that the balloon was a civilian weather-monitoring device.
Dongguan Lingkong Remote Sensing Technology Company, Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Company, Guangzhou Tian-Hai-Xiang Aviation Technology Company, Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Company, and China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 48th Research Institute were among the companies that the United States of America targeted on Friday.
The Commerce Department did not say if the institute and the companies were directly involved in the creation or operation of the balloon that traveled across the United States. However, the Biden administration stated earlier this week that it would think about taking action against any organizations that had helped the balloon fly.
The parties involved in the balloon’s production or voyage have not yet been made public by the government. However, it has been claimed that the machine was able to collect electronic communications and was part of a global surveillance fleet commanded by China’s military.
Over the past few years, the United States has steadily increased its use of the entity list, preventing rivals like China and Russia from receiving advanced technologies. It argued that advanced semiconductor technologies were assisting the Chinese military, so in October, it added a slew of Chinese companies.
Another unidentified object was shot down by the US government on Friday near Alaska. It was not immediately clear which nation or business was to blame.