Basing itself on documentary evidence, the U.S. administration has come to the conclusion that Huawei Technologies and Hikvisionare either owned or controlled by the Chinese military. The determination lays the groundwork for further U.S. financial sanctions on the duo.
Confirming the authenticity of the documents, a U.S. defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, the document has been sent to the Congress.
The United States has already placed Huawei on a trade blacklist in 2019 citing national security concerns and has informed allied nations on the intelligence threats posed by the Chinese companies if they were included in their respective next generation 5G networks, which will form the backbone of their industry.
The document lists 20 companies that backed by the Chinese military and operate in the United States. It includes China Mobile Communications Group, China Telecommunications Corp and Aviation Industry Corp of China.
The development comes in the background of the Department of Defense drawing up a list of Chinese military companies that operate in the United States, including those “owned or controlled” by the People’s Liberation Army that provide commercial services, manufacture, produce or export.
U.S. President Donald Trump has the option to impose sanctions on these companies, which could include blocking all property of the listed parties.
Huawei, Hikvision, China Mobile, China Telecom, AVIC and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.
The Pentagon has come under pressure from lawmakers of both U.S. political parties to publish the list, amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over technology, trade and foreign policy.
In September 2019, a bipartisan group of Senators, including Republican Senator Tom Cotton, Democrat Chuck Schumer, and Republican Representative Mike Gallagher penned a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper raising concerns about 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?” said the Senators in the letter.
The White House did not comment on whether it would sanction the companies on the list, but said it saw it as “a useful tool for the U.S. Government, companies, investors, academic institutions, and like minded partners to conduct due diligence with regard to partnerships with these entities, particularly as the list grows.”
The list “is a start, but woefully inadequate to warn the American people about the state-owned and -directed companies that support the Chinese government and Communist Party’s activities threatening U.S. economic and national security,” said Republican Senator Marco Rubio.