WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department said Thursday it added Chinese National Overseas Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to a U.S. economic blacklist, saying it had helped China intimidate neighbors in the South China Sea.
The Commerce Department also said Chinese company Skyrizon was being added to the Military End-User (MEU) List for “its capability to develop, produce or maintain military items, such as military aircraft engines.”
The administration of President Donald Trump has ratcheted up tension with China in his final weeks in office.
CNOOC and a legal representative of Skyrizon did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.
“China’s reckless and belligerent actions in the South China Sea and its aggressive push to acquire sensitive intellectual property and technology for its militarization efforts are a threat to U.S. national Security and the security of the international community,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.
“CNOOC acts a bully for the People’s Liberation Army to intimidate China’s neighbors, and the Chinese military continues to benefit from government civil-military fusion policies for malign purposes,” he said.
The Commerce Department said China had been rapidly building artificial islands since 2013 “enabling the Communist Chinese Party’s militarization of disputed outposts in the South China Sea to undermine the sovereign rights of U.S. partners in the region.”
It said CNOOC has “repeatedly harassed and threatened offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction in the South China Sea, with the goal of driving up the political risk for interested foreign partners, including Vietnam.”
Ross said Skyrizon “A Chinese state-owned company—and its push to acquire and indigenize foreign military technologies pose a significant threat to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama