The United States has placed Chinese companies accused of building supercomputers to aid the Chinese military on an export blacklist, the first such move by the Biden administration to make it harder for China to obtain the American technology.
Three companies and four branches of the National Supercomputing Center of China have been added to the US Department of Commerce’s “entity list”, which prohibits US companies from exporting technology to unlicensed groups.
The commerce department said the groups were involved in building supercomputers used by Chinese “military actors” and facilitating programs to develop weapons of mass destruction.
“High-performance computing capabilities are vital to the development of many – perhaps almost all – modern weapons and national security systems, such as nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons,” said Gina Raimondo, US Secretary of State for the World. trade.
“The Commerce Ministry will use the full extent of its powers to prevent China from taking advantage of US technology to support these destabilizing military modernization efforts,” she added.
The Chinese entities are Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, the Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, Sunway Microelectronics and the branches of the National Supercomputing Center.
The Washington Post reported this week that Phytium engineered semiconductors using American technology to power a supercomputer used to develop hypersonic missiles, which are difficult to detect due to their speed.
The Trump administration had put dozens of Chinese companies on the entity list, including Huawei, the telecommunications equipment company, as well as targeting Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation and DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone maker.
The Biden administration is examining dozens of China-related actions Donald Trump took in his last year in office, including an order banning Americans from investing in Chinese companies on a Pentagon list of groups accused of helping the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The United States is also in talks with allies in Asia and Europe to try to find ways to coordinate export controls.
The Washington Post said that Phytium has outsourced the manufacturing of its chips to TSMC, the Taiwanese company that has become the world’s most advanced semiconductor maker.
The Financial Times previously reported that the Trump administration had pressed the Taiwanese government to prevent TSMC from producing chips for Huawei, which it said were being used in Chinese missiles that could be deployed in a potential attack on Taiwan.
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