US adds six Chinese entities linked to ‘spy balloon’ to export blacklist
The United States (US) has added six Chinese entities linked to Beijing’s suspected surveillance balloon program to an export blacklist, causing political outrage between the US and China.
The US Commerce Department said the five companies and one research institute linked to the ‘spy balloon’ were supporting “China’s military modernisation efforts, specifically the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) aerospace programs including airships and balloons.”
Beijing Nanjiang Aerospace Technology, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 48th Research Institute, Dongguan Lingkong Remote Sensing Technology, Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group, Guangzhou Tian-Hai-Xiang Aviation Technology, and Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group have been added to the US export blacklist.
Matthew Axelrod, the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, said that the move aims to disrupt China’s use of surveillance balloons, which have violated the airspace of the US and more than 40 countries.
The latest move came after the White House said it would work to “expose and address” China’s larger surveillance activities that threaten the security of various countries, including the US.
Recently, a US official told the Washington Post that the US intelligence community believed that the suspected spy balloon was employed for espionage by the Chinese military.
Last week, the US military shot down a surveillance balloon of the People’s Republic of China floating over sensitive installations. Subsequently, the US briefed its friends and allies about the Chinese surveillance balloon. According to the US official, the incident poses a great security threat to the United States and its allies.
After the incident, Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State, cancelled his trip to Beijing. He said that a Chinese reconnaissance balloon moving east across the US posed a threat to national security. He also called China’s director of the Central Foreign Affairs Office, Wang Yi, to discuss the incident.
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