The suspected Chinese language spy balloon drifts to the ocean after being shot down off the coast in Surfside Seaside, South Carolina, US February 4, 2023.
Randall Hill | Reuters
WASHINGTON — The Commerce Division introduced a brand new spherical of sanctions Friday focusing on six Chinese language aerospace firms that it recognized as supporting the nation’s navy’s reconnaissance balloon program.
The companies will be part of a rising record of firms based mostly in China that the US says pose critical threats to nationwide safety.
The sanctions announcement got here simply hours after an American navy F-22 shot down the second “excessive altitude object” to enter US airspace up to now week.
“The PRC’s use of high-altitude balloons violates our sovereignty and threatens US nationwide safety,” mentioned Alan Estevez, undersecretary of commerce for trade and safety, utilizing the acronym for the Individuals’s Republic of China.
“As we speak’s motion makes clear that entities that search to hurt US nationwide safety and sovereignty can be lower off from accessing US applied sciences,” Estevez mentioned in a press release from the Commerce Division.
The craft that was shot down Friday was floating off the coast of Alaska. Final weekend, a excessive altitude Chinese language surveillance balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
The White Home was hesitant to characterize the plane concerned within the Friday incident as a balloon, nonetheless.
“We’re calling this an object as a result of that’s the very best description we’ve proper now,” mentioned Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby, including that US officers didn’t but know which nation or group was liable for it.
The brand new sanctions replicate the administration’s renewed focus this week on China’s unmanned airship surveillance applications.
“As we speak’s motion demonstrates our concerted efforts to determine and disrupt the PRC’s use of surveillance balloons, which have violated the airspace of the US and greater than forty international locations,” mentioned Matthew Axelrod, assistant secretary of commerce for export enforcement.