The United States has placed Chinese groups 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 China’s National Supercomputing Center have been added to the US government’s “entity list”, which prohibits US companies from exporting technology to unlicensed groups.
The US Department of Commerce 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.
Raimondo said the Biden administration would “use the full scope of its authority to prevent China from taking advantage of US technology to support these destabilizing military modernization efforts.”
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 United States is increasingly concerned about China’s access to American technology that helps the People’s Liberation Army bridge the gap with American military and field weapons that could shift the balance of power military in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Washington Post said this week that Phytium designed semiconductors using American technology to power supercomputers used to develop hypersonic missiles, which are difficult to detect due to their speed.
The newspaper said Phytium used technology from Cadence Design Systems and Synopsys. Thursday’s U.S. decision would make it much more difficult for the two California-based companies to provide services and products to Chinese companies. But that would not prevent them from supplying Chinese groups if this technology were produced in facilities outside the United States.
The Washington Post said that Phytium outsourced the manufacturing of its chips to TSMC, the Taiwanese company that has become the the world’s most advanced semiconductor manufacturer.
The Financial Times previously reported that the Trump administration had urged 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.
The decision to place the Chinese groups on the entity list would not impact TSMC’s ability to supply them with semiconductors.
The Trump administration had put dozens of Chinese companies on the list of entities, including Huawei, the telecommunications equipment company, it also targeted Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation and DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone maker.
The Biden administration is reviewing dozens of China-related actions Donald Trump took in his last year in office, including an order banning Americans from investing in Chinese companies that the Pentagon says are helping the ‘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.
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