In its final days, the administration of US President Donald Trump has taken another blow to China and its largest companies, imposing sanctions on officials and companies for alleged wrongdoing in the South China Sea and imposing an investment ban on nine other companies.
These measures will further increase tensions with China, Washington’s strategic rival in Asia, days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday. Biden’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Executives of state-owned enterprises, Chinese Communist Party and military officials, as well as oil giant China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), will face new restrictions for allegedly using coercion against states with rival claims in the South China Sea.
Senior U.S. officials told reporters on Thursday during a call that new restrictions on CNOOC – the country’s leading deep-water explorer – would not apply to crude oil, refined fuels and liquid natural gas, and would not apply to crude oil, refined fuels and liquid natural gas. would not apply to existing joint ventures with CNOOC that are not operating in the South China Sea.
Nine Chinese companies have been added to the Pentagon’s list of companies with suspected ties to the Chinese military, including aircraft maker Comac and phone maker Xiaomi Corp.
These companies will be subject to a new U.S. investment ban that will require U.S. investors to sell stakes in blacklisted companies by November 11, 2021.
In its response, the Chinese Embassy referred to the Foreign Ministry comments on January 7 accusing Washington “of pinning political and ideological labels on economic and trade issues and of exploiting its state power to crack down on foreign companies on the pretext of national security ”.
The United States has long opposed China’s vast territorial claims in the South China Sea, a potentially resource-rich area that is also a strategic trade route. Washington accuses Beijing of intimidating states like Vietnam and the Philippines that have competing claims there.
China accuses Washington of trying to destabilize the region by sending warships and planes to the South China Sea.
“The United States is standing with claimant states in Southeast Asia seeking to defend their sovereign rights and interests, in accordance with international law,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in announcing the sanctions.
Pompeo said Washington was imposing visa restrictions on executives of Chinese state-owned companies and officials of the Chinese Communist Party and the Navy.
He said the sanctions were directed against those “ responsible for or complicit in the large-scale rehabilitation, construction or militarization of disputed outposts in the South China Sea, or the use of coercion against Southeast Asian claimants to prevent their access to offshore. Resources.”
The restrictions could also apply to immediate family members, he said.
The Commerce Department accused the CNOOC of harassing and threatening offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction in the South China Sea, “in an attempt to increase political risk for foreign partners. interested parties, including Vietnam ”.
The Trump administration has kept the pressure on in its final days, attacking what Washington sees as Beijing’s attempt to use corporations as a means to exploit civilian technologies for military purposes.
“ For malicious purposes ”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the CNOOC had acted “a tyrant to make the People’s Liberation Army intimidate China’s neighbors” and that the Chinese military “continues to benefit from the policies of civil fusion. government military for malicious purposes ”.
Ross’s department added CNOOC to an “entity list” that requires companies to obtain a special license before they can receive exports of high-tech items from US suppliers.
Chinese aviation company Skyrizon was added to a military end user (MEU) list due to its ability to develop military products, including aircraft engines, which restricts its access to U.S. exports.
Besides Comac and Xiaomi, the Pentagon added Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc, Luokung Technology Corp, Beijing Zhongguancun Development Investment Center, GOWIN Semiconductor Corp, Grand China Air Co Ltd, Global Tone Communication Technology Co Ltd and China National Aviation Holding Co Ltd to the list.
Chinese company representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Trump administration on Wednesday abandoned its plan to blacklist Chinese tech giants Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, four people familiar with the matter said.
Xiaomi shares fell 12% in Hong Kong, while its suppliers also fell.
CNOOC’s publicly traded unit, CNOOC Ltd., fell 2% before rising 1.7%.