US puts six Chinese aviation, tech entities on blacklist over balloon case
Political manipulation by Washington worrisome: Chinese experts
Published: Feb 12, 2023 09:53 PM
Photo taken on Oct 28, 2021 shows the U.S. Commerce Department in Washington, DC, the United States. Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken on Oct 28, 2021 shows the U.S. Commerce Department in Washington, DC, the United States. Photo:Xinhua

Despite China's repeated communication with the US, Washington continued to escalate the balloon case through a mix of both political and economic moves, due to the malicious political manipulation by some forces in Washington, which presents worrying signs for bilateral ties, experts warned over the weekend.

The Biden administration on Friday blacklisted six Chinese aviation and technology companies as part of its response to a Chinese civilian balloon, according to the US Commerce Department.

The department said the five companies and one research institute were supporting "China's military modernization efforts, specifically the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) aerospace programs including airships and balloons."

The six entities are Beijing Nanjiang Aerospace Technology Co, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 48th Research Institute, Dongguan Lingkong Remote Sensing Technology Co, Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co, Guangzhou Tian-Hai-Xiang Aviation Technology Co, and Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co.

US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves said on Twitter his department "will not hesitate to continue to use" such restrictions and other tools "to protect US national security and sovereignty."

Also on Friday, Reuters reported that the Biden administration plans to ban investments in some Chinese technology companies and increase scrutiny of others to crack down on the billions of dollars of US investment in "sensitive" Chinese sectors.

On Thursday, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution attacking China for using a "surveillance balloon" over US territory.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday that "the Chinese side has repeatedly shared information and stated its position on the unintended entry of the unmanned Chinese civilian airship into US airspace due to force majeure. The US Congress's resolution is about scoring political points and dramatizing the whole case. China deplores it and firmly opposes it."

Washington's escalation and expanding of the political implications of the airship case is a sign that US economic and foreign policy has been completely hijacked by its political machines, which is having economic consequences not only on the two countries, but also on global industrial chains, experts noted.

He Weiwen, a former senior trade official and an executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, told the Global Times on Saturday that the airship case has given the US another excuse to abuse export controls targeting Chinese companies, and given the US-led "decoupling" push, it won't be surprising if more high-tech firms are affected.

The past months already saw the US ramp up efforts to strangle China on advanced technology, including a decision to cease approval licenses for US firms to export most items to Huawei and coercing the Netherlands and Japan to join the US in limiting exports of advanced chip-making equipment to China.

"All the things that the Biden administration has done are not conducive but detrimental to bilateral cooperation," Li Yong, deputy chairman of the Expert Committee of the China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times on Sunday, noting that the incident disrupted the momentum toward stabilizing bilateral ties since the Bali meeting between the two heads of state. 

"Both the US' tech suppression and its escalation of the airship case actually point to a core problem, that is, the current atmosphere for US-China relations is worrying," Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday. "Some political forces are trying to exploit the tensions for their own political gain, and this is something to watch out for."

Experts said it is not surprising that the US uses the balloon case as an excuse to sanction Chinese institutions, entities and individuals, with the aim of accelerating decoupling from China.

"It also shows that the Biden administration has become growingly reckless in its strategy to contain China, no matter what the costs," Li said, noting that the politicization of the matter by the US government will have repercussions within the US, fueling its racial divide.

But even in such circumstances, it is still essential for China and the US to manage differences and strengthen communication for the sake of maintaining a stable relationship, which is vital to both economies, He said. The US economy is now under broad pressure from inflation, a looming recession and an unfolding debt crisis. A sound economic relationship with China will greatly help alleviate the pressure.

While the Biden administration has decided to postpone Blinken's reported trip to Beijing following the case, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that she still hoped to visit China, according to US media reports. And China's Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday that China welcomes Yellen to visit China, as it is important for both countries to maintain normal communications.