The United States has blacklisted six Chinese entities it said were linked to Beijing’s aerospace programs as part of its retaliation over an alleged Chinese spy balloon that traversed U.S. airspace.
The economic restrictions announced Friday followed the Biden administration’s pledge to consider broader efforts to address Chinese surveillance activities and will make it more difficult for the five companies and one research institute to obtain American technology exports.
The move is likely to further escalate the diplomatic row between the U.S. and China sparked by the balloon, which was shot down last weekend off the Carolina coast. The U.S. said the balloon was equipped to detect and collect intelligence signals, but Beijing insists it was a weather craft that had blown off course.
The incident prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to abruptly cancel a high-stakes trip to Beijing aimed at easing tensions.
The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security said the six entities were being targeted for “their support to China’s military modernization efforts, specifically the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) aerospace programs including airships and balloons.”
“The PLA is utilizing High Altitude Balloons (HAB) for intelligence and reconnaissance activities,” it said.