China accuses U.S. using 'national security' as excuse to act against Chinese firms

FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying attends a news conference in Beijing, China July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

BEIJING (Reuters) - China accused the United States on Tuesday of using “national security” concerns as an excuse to act against Chinese firms, in a response that followed days after the Pentagon listed 11 more Chinese firms as being owned or controlled by the military.

“I don’t think this kind of behaviour will be of any benefit to the U.S.”, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing on Tuesday.

The U.S. has “repeatedly abused the concept of national security, misused national power, and oppressed particular Chinese companies,” she said.

Chinese companies abide by regulations and market principles she added.

The Pentagon on Friday listed 11 companies, including construction giant China Communications Construction Co, China Three Gorges Corporation Limited CYTGP.UL, Sinochem Group Co Ltd SASADA.UL and China Spacesat 600118.SS , as havinglinks with the Chinese military, laying the groundwork for potential sanctions.

Earlier in the year the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) document listed 20 companies operating in the United States that Washington alleges are backed by the Chinese military.

The Pentagon’s designations do not trigger penalties, but a 1999 law that mandates the compilation of the list says the president may impose sanctions that could include blocking all property of the listed parties.

Reporting by Gabriel Crossley in Beijing, Writing by Shivani Singh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore