(Noted News) — Mere weeks before president-elect Joe Biden is supposed to take over the White House, President Trump continues to shake things up in the dwindling hours of his time on Pennsylvania Avenue.
According to sources at Reuters, the Department of Defense (DoD) began an investigation into four Chinese companies and their alleged link to the Chinese military, adding to a list of now thirty-five Chinese companies who are believed to be a threat to national security.
So far it has been confirmed that two out of those four companies investigated by the DoD are chip maker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), and oil and gas company China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC). The others will presumably be listed in the Federal Register in the coming weeks or months.
The blacklisting seeks to ban any U.S. investors from deploying capital into these companies, effectively cutting them off from any American money. CNOOC had no formal warning or correspondence with U.S. officials prior to the blacklisting, and after Reuters’ initial report on it, shares in CNOOC dropped 14%.
SMIC was previously hit in September when the US Commerce Department informed a number of American firms that they would need to get a license before supplying any goods or services to SMIC due to an “unacceptable risk” that equipment supplied to it could be used by the Chinese government for military purposes.
Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman for China, said regarding the White House’s decision that she hoped the U.S. would not continue to discriminate against Chinese companies and to erect barriers and obstacles to cooperation.
Neither the Chinese embassy nor the DoD has commented yet.
These sanctions solidify Donald Trump’s continued crusade to alter the trade supply chain between China and the United States and potentially pose another obstacle for the presumed incoming president-elect Joe Biden who has a considerably less hawkish outlook on U.S.-China relations.
The moves are also consistent with the Trump administration’s continuous belief that China has been trying to infiltrate and undermine the United States by using spies, invasive technology, and the buying off of politicians and influential individuals.
In August, the Justice Department arrested a cancer researcher at the University of California-Davis named Juan Tang, charging her with visa fraud on the allegations that she claimed to have no involvement with the military, yet was actually a “uniformed officer.”
In May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted that the Trump administration would continue to tackle the alleged threat.
“We know we have this challenge. President Trump, I am confident, is going to take that on… We have an obligation—a duty—to make sure that students that are coming here to study… aren’t acting on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said.
“This isn’t a red scare, this isn’t racist. Chinese people are a great people… This is like the days of the Soviet Union. This is a communist, tyrannical regime that poses real risk to the United States.”
The recent sanctions against the Chinese companies come following the Trump administration’s sudden sacking of high-profile defense advisors in the Pentagon, including Henry Kissinger and Madelaine Albright, both former secretaries of state.
There was no comment or statement from the Trump administration of the Pentagon other than a vague thank-you to the former advisors.
“As part of long-considered changes, we can confirm that several members of the Department’s Defense Policy Board have been removed. We are extremely grateful for their dedicated service, commitment, and contributions to our national security. Future announcements for new members of the board will be made soon,” the third official said.
One could interpret the last-minute shakeups as just a desperate attempt to make things difficult for Joe Biden should he enter the White House, but it could also be a sign of laying the grounds for a takedown of the election results; two of the replacements at the Pentagon are trusted Trump allies who have politically helped the president in the past.
One new advisor, Anthony Tata, once called Barack Obama a “terrorist leader”, and was also vocal about a supposed attempt by the CIA to assassinate Trump.
Another new advisor, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, provided intelligence to former House Intelligence Chairman Nunes that allowed him to claim that the Democrats and other elements of U.S. intelligence agencies spied on the Trump campaign.
Donald Trump has still not conceded against president-elect Joe Biden.