US imposes export control on companies training Chinese pilots, Beijing slams sanctions

The US imposed export control on 43 entities

Pilot in cockpit Representational image

China on Tuesday slammed the United States for imposing export restrictions on companies training Chinese pilots. Beijing slammed the restrictions and urged the Biden administration to stop abusing export control measures.

China criticised sanctions on companies believed to be involved in training Chinese military pilots and aiding weapons development. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin urged Washington to stop abusing export control measures “to hobble Chinese companies”.

According to reports, the US added 43 entities to an export control list for training Chinese military pilots and other activities that threaten US national security. The list includes both Chinese and foreign companies.

“The United States has repeatedly overstretched the concept of national security, abused state power, unwarrantedly suppressed Chinese companies, and wantonly disrupted the international economic order and trade rules,” Wang said at a daily briefing in Beijing. “It has reached a level of unscrupulous hysteria.”

“China demands that the US immediately correct its wrong practice of politicising, instrumentalising, and weaponising economic, trade, and sci-tech issues with a pretext of human rights or military-related issues,” Wang said.

Companies on the list are restricted from receiving US exports for activities deemed contrary to US interest, the South China Morning Post reported.

 Among those listed were Frontier Services Group Ltd, a security and aviation company previously run by Blackwater founder Erik Prince, and Test Flying Academy of South Africa, a flight school under scrutiny by British authorities for hiring retired British military pilots to train Chinese fliers.

In addition to recruiting Western pilots to train People’s Liberation Army pilots on Western aircraft manoeuvres, companies were added to the list for acquiring US-origin items in support of China’s military modernisation, including hypersonic weapons development and hypersonic flight modelling, the Commerce Department release said.

“The companies are barred from receiving US exports for activities deemed contrary to US national interest. Other companies were sanctioned for aiding development of China's hypersonic weapons and the modernization of its army,” the Commerce Department said.

Two companies--Beijing Ryan Wende Science and Technology Co. Ltd and Xinjiang Kehua Hechang Biological Science and Technology Co. Ltd -- were added for allegedly supplying items that helped the Chinese government monitor Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. 

The US has imposed several rounds of sanctions and import curbs over the past three years on companies believed to be aiding Beijing's crackdown on ethnic minorities in its western Xinjiang region.

While the two countries spar over national security and human rights issues, they are also working to keep lines of communication open to avoid an accidental conflict.

According to SCMP, Nine Chinese and Pakistani companies were included in the list for contributing to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme and other weapons contributions. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected in Beijing later this week, in a visit previously postponed due to an alleged Chinese spy balloon that traveled across US territory in February. 

(With PTI inputs.)

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