US determines 11 more firms to be under PLA control

WASHINGTON • The Trump administration has determined that another 11 Chinese firms, including China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), are owned or controlled by the Chinese military, the Pentagon has said, laying the groundwork for new sanctions.

The US Department of Defence had earlier this year designated 20 top Chinese firms as Chinese military companies operating directly or indirectly in the United States, including those "owned or controlled" by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) that provide commercial services, manufacture, produce or export.

Friday's updated list also included China Three Gorges Corporation, Sinochem Group and China Spacesat.

The Pentagon's designations do not trigger penalties, but a 1999 law that mandates compilation of the list says the president may impose sanctions that could include blocking all property of the listed parties.

The Pentagon has come under pressure from lawmakers of both US political parties to publish the list, amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over technology, trade and foreign policy.

The list will likely add to tensions between the world's two largest economies, which have been at loggerheads over China's move to impose security legislation on Hong Kong, among multiple points of friction that have worsened this year.

Google and Facebook last Thursday dropped plans for an undersea cable between the US and Hong Kong after the Trump administration said that Beijing might use the link to collect information on Americans.

But the companies quickly submitted a revised proposal that includes links to Taiwan and the Philippines, as envisioned in the application that was withdrawn.

Last Wednesday, the US blacklisted 24 Chinese companies, including CCCC, and targeted individuals it said were part of construction and military actions in the South China Sea, a disputed strategic waterway.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 30, 2020, with the headline 'US determines 11 more firms to be under PLA control'. Print Edition | Subscribe