US lawmakers ask Pentagon for list of Chinese companies to curb 'economic espionage'

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer speaks  in Washington July 31, 2018.  — Reuters pic
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer speaks in Washington July 31, 2018. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, Sept 13 — A bipartisan group of US lawmakers asked the Pentagon yesterday to name companies owned by the Chinese military operating in the United States, as they seek to curb what they called Beijing's effort to “steal” technology for military purposes.

Companies owned by the Chinese government “acquire American firms to transfer proprietary information,” among other tactics, according to the letter to Defence Secretary Mark Esper. It was written by Democratic and Republican senators and representatives, including US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

A Chinese embassy spokesperson called the accusations “groundless” and of a “cold-war mentality” and said China's strategy aims to integrate defence and economic sectors.

A Pentagon report in 2018 said China dominates the global supply of rare earth minerals critical to US military operations, as well as supplies of electronics and chemicals.

“China represents a significant and growing risk to the supply of materials and technologies deemed strategic and critical to US national security,” the report said.

The lawmakers asked the Pentagon to compile a list of companies owned by the Chinese military operating in the United States, citing a provision in the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for fiscal 1999.

The lawmakers requested the public release of an updated list “as soon as possible” to “combat China's economic espionage in the United States.” — Reuters

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