Washington adds thirty-seven Chinese entities to its blacklist following the “spy” balloon incident

Washington added, on Thursday, May 9, to its commercial blacklist thirty-seven Chinese entities, including certain companies linked, according to the United States, to the flight over American territory by a Chinese balloon in early 2023. Seen at the time as a structure doing espionage this machine had been shot down.

The Commerce Department said it also targets those seeking to acquire U.S. products to advance China’s quantum technology capabilities. “These activities have substantial military applications and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security”he underlined in a press release.

Companies added to the “entity list” cannot obtain U.S. items and technology without government authorization.

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Some targeted companies are also linked to advances in Chinese nuclear programs, or “involved in shipping controlled items to Russia” since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Commerce Department added. “We must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent such entities from accessing U.S. technologies that could be used in ways that harm our national security.”declared the Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, Alan Estevez, quoted in the press release.

A balloon that had blurred diplomatic relations

In February 2023, the Ministry of Commerce had already added six Chinese entities to the list of trade restrictions after the balloon incident. This imposing structure crossed the United States from west to east, from Alaska to South Carolina, from late January to early February 2023, passing over strategic military installations. The balloon was finally shot down on February 4 over the Atlantic and its debris was recovered by the American army, which has since studied its contents.

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The incident had cast a chill in relations between Beijing and Washington. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a long-planned trip to China.

Washington had assured that it was a spy balloon, which Beijing had denied, claiming that it had drifted unintentionally into American airspace.

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The World with AFP

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