WASHINGTON—A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers asked the Pentagon on Sept. 12 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 Defense Secretary Mark Esper. It was written by Democratic and Republican senators and representatives, including U.S. 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 defense and economic sectors.
A Pentagon report in 2018 said China dominates the global supply of rare earth minerals critical to U.S. 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 U.S. national security,” the report said.
China holds most of the world’s capacity to process rare earths, which are key materials in manufacturing many electronic equipment. From 2014 to 2017, China supplied 80 percent of the rare earths imported by the United States. It produced 120,000 metric tons, or 70 percent of the world’s total rare earths, in 2018, according to data from the United States Geological Survey.
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 Defense Authorization 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.”
By Bryan Pietsch. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.