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US adds a dozen Chinese companies to its trade blacklist

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2018, file photo, American flags are displayed together with Chinese flags on top of a trishaw in Beijing. On Friday, July 24, 2020, China has ordered the United States to close its consulate in the western city of Chengdu in an increasingly rancorous diplomatic conflict. The order followed the U.S. closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

(CNN) — The Biden administration is piling more pressure on Chinese companies it claims could undermine US national security.

The US Commerce Department on Wednesday added a dozen Chinese companies to a trade blacklist, saying that some of the firms have supported the modernization of China’s army.

US officials called the move part of an effort to prevent emerging US technologies from being used for quantum computing efforts that would support China’s military, such as “counter-stealth and counter-submarine applications.”

The Commerce Department also cited concerns about China’s “ability to break encryption or develop unbreakable encryption.” And it said that several entities from China and Pakistan were added to the list for contributing to Pakistan’s nuclear activities or ballistic missile program.

Tensions between the United States and China that escalated under former President Donald Trump have continued to simmer under President Joe Biden. And despite a recent first virtual summit with President Xi Jinping, and collaboration on the climate crisis and oil reserves, his administration has so far done little to wind down the pressure on Beijing.

In April, the Biden administration added seven Chinese businesses with ties to the military to the list that restricts US firms from dealing with the companies. At the time, the Commerce Department said those companies operated in the field of supercomputing and have helped the Chinese government modernize its military or have worked on weapons of mass destruction programs.

China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday blasted the new sanctions, saying that the country “will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused the United States of having “repeatedly generalized national security” and having “abused state power” to suppress Chinese enterprises.

In total, 27 foreign entities and individuals were added to the US Commerce Department’s trade blacklist. Along with the Chinese companies, other targets were based in Pakistan, Japan and Singapore.

“Global trade and commerce should support peace, prosperity, and good-paying jobs, not national security risks,” US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said in a statement.

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