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US adds 24 Chinese companies to entity list for activity in the South China Sea

The US has put 24 Chinese companies under the Entity List for their role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the artificial islands in the South China Sea. The US Department of Commerce’s listing of these companies will mean that the licensing norms will be much stricter for these companies and they may need additional licenses to exports, re-exports, and transfers (in-country) of items subject. In a way, these companies will no longer be able to purchase technology and other products shipped from the United States. A ministry release said that despite protests from the United States and other countries, the Chinese government has been rapidly building the artificial islands since 2013, enabling the Communist ChineseParty’s (CCP) militarization of disputed outposts in the South China Sea to undermine the sovereign rights of U.S. partners in the region.

“The United States, China’s neighbors, and the international community have rebuked the CCP’s sovereignty claims to the South China Sea and have condemned the building of artificial islands for the Chinese military,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “The entities designated today have played a significant role in China’s provocative construction of these artificial islands and must be held accountable.”

Since 2013, China is alleged to have dredged and constructed more than 3,000 acres across seven features in the South China Sea, which include air defense and anti-ship missile features. In addition, the dredging and construction of certain outposts have also invited sovereignty concerns from coastal countries in that region. In Fact, china has brazenly refused to abide by the award given by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in July 2016 in a case brought by the Philippines against the Chinese government. 

Meanwhile the US has also initiated imposing visa restrictions on Chinese individuals for their role in coercion against Southeast Asian claimants to inhibit their access to offshore resources.  These individuals will now be inadmissible into the United States, and their immediate family members may be subject to these visa restrictions as well. The Entity List includes several subsidiaries of  China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). 

In a tweet, the state secretary Mike Pompeo said, “The U.S. is taking action today to support freedom of the seas and to oppose coercion of our Southeast Asian allies and partners. We must not allow Beijing’s campaign of bullying to prevent access to vital offshore resources and damage critical ecosystems.” 

The list of Companies put on Entity list today includes Beijing Huanjia Telecommunication Co., Chongxin Bada Technology DevelopmentCo., Shanghai Cable Offshore Engineering Co., Tianjin Broadcasting EquipmentCo., and the research institutes of the China Electronics Technology GroupCorporation and China Shipbuilding Group. “The PRC must not be allowed to use CCCC and other state-owned enterprises as weapons to impose an expansionist agenda.  The United States will act until we see Beijing discontinue its coercive behavior in the South China Sea, and we will continue to stand with allies and partners in resisting this destabilizing activity.” added te state secretary.

 As the US-China relation continue to be at loggerheads, the US government has taken steps to bar the Chinese-owned social media apps TikTok and WeChat, shut down a Chinese diplomatic mission in Houston, and placed sanctions on Chinese officials and entities over human rights violations, among several other measures.

 Last month only the US Secretary had indicated that the US will pursue sanctions against Chinese companies acting in the region after announcing that China’s claims across much of the South China Sea were “completely unlawful,”

 

Report by Abhishek Jha

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