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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

US blacklists 6 Chinese organizations involved in balloon launches

The economic sanctions announced on February 10 follow the Biden administration’s pledge to launch a broader effort to crack down on Chinese espionage. Blacklisted: 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., Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co.

The US Bureau of Industry and Security said the organizations had been sanctioned for “supporting China’s military modernization efforts, particularly the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aerospace programs, including airships and hot-air balloons”.

“The PLA uses high-altitude balloons for reconnaissance purposes,” the report said.

Associate Secretary of Commerce Don Graves tweeted that his department would “without hesitation continue to apply” such restrictions and other regulatory tools “to protect the national security and sovereignty of the United States.”

The move is likely to further escalate the diplomatic row between the US and China over a balloon that was shot down by the US Air Force last week in US airspace.

The White House said the balloon was fitted with spy equipment, although Beijing continued to insist it was a stray weather craft.

On February 10, US Air Force F-22 fighters destroyed another unknown object in northern Alaska, but details of its origin and technical characteristics have not yet been reported.

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