China slams US for using ‘national security’ excuse against Chinese firms

A China Communications Construction Co flag flies at the site of Port City Colombo in Sri Lanka in 2018. (File pic)

BEIJING: China accused the US on Tuesday of using “national security” concerns as an excuse to act against Chinese firms, in a response that followed days after the Pentagon listed 11 more Chinese firms as being owned or controlled by the military.

“I don’t think this kind of behaviour will be of any benefit to the US,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing on Tuesday.

The US has “repeatedly abused the concept of national security, misused national power, and oppressed particular Chinese companies,” she said.

Chinese companies abide by regulations and market principles she added.

The Pentagon on Friday listed 11 companies, including construction giant China Communications Construction Co, China Three Gorges Corporation Limited, Sinochem Group Co Ltd and China Spacesat, as having links with the Chinese military, laying the groundwork for potential sanctions.

Earlier in the year the U.S. Department of Defence (DOD) document listed 20 companies operating in the US that Washington alleges are backed by the Chinese military.

The Pentagon’s designations do not trigger penalties, but a 1999 law that mandates the compilation of the list says the president may impose sanctions that could include blocking all property of the listed parties.