The Trump administration has determined that top Chinese firms, including telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies and video surveillance company Hikvision, are owned or controlled by the Chinese military, laying the groundwork for new US financial sanctions.
Washington placed Huawei and Hikvision on a trade blacklist last year over national security concerns and has led an international campaign to convince allies to exclude Huawei from their 5G networks.
A department of defence document listing 20 companies operating in the US that Washington alleges are backed by the Chinese military was first reported by Reuters.
The DoD document also includes China Mobile Communications Group and China Telecommunications as well as aircraft manufacturer Aviation Industry Corp of China.
The designations were drawn up by the defence department, which was mandated by a 1999 law to compile a list of Chinese military companies operating in the US, including those “owned or controlled” by the People’s Liberation Army that provides commercial services, manufacture, produce or export.
The Pentagon’s designations do not trigger penalties, but the law says the president may impose sanctions that could include blocking all property of the listed parties.
Huawei, China Mobile, China Telecom, AVIC and the Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.