Trump administration says Huawei controlled by Chinese military, opening door to new sanctions

Pentagon says 20 companies are owned or controlled by China's People’s Liberation Army 


Gino Spocchia
Thursday 25 June 2020 15:37 BST
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The Trump administration says that Huawei and other leading Chinese companies are Chinese military-controlled.

A document published on Wednesday listed 20 businesses that Washington alleges are backed by the People’s Liberation Army.

Telecoms giant Huawei and video surveillance company Hikvision are among those named in the document, as well as China Mobile Communications Group, China Telecommunications Corp, and Aviation Industry Corp of China.

A US Defense Department source told Reuters that the document had been sent to Congress, where committees could call on Washington to impose new sanctions against the companies.

The Defense Department must monitor companies that are determined to be People’s Liberation Army “owned or controlled” and active in the US, under national law.

The Pentagon has come under pressure from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress who demand updates to the document, after the Commerce Department blacklisted Huawei in 2019 over national security concerns.

Huawei has since been central to tensions between Beijing, Washington and European governments who have been encouraged to exclude the Chinese firm from new 5G networks.

US senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton wrote to defense secretary Mark Esper in September with concerns over Beijing’s enlisting of Chinese corporations to harness emerging civilian technologies for military purposes.

“Will you commit to updating and publicly releasing this list as soon as possible?” wrote the senators in that letter. “We urge you to conduct these mandatory reviews as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”

The White House previously barred US companies from selling Huawei and other Chinese companies certain technology without permission.

US president Donald Trump said on Monday that the trade deal signed with Beijing in January was not “over”, after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro had suggested so.

“I was simply speaking to the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party after they lied about the origins of the China virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world,” Mr Navarro later said.

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