Posted BY: Jordan Dixon-Hamilton

The U.S. Commerce Department on Friday announced sanctions against six Chinese aerospace companies in connection with the Chinese spy balloon that U.S. military officials shot down last weekend after it traversed U.S. airspace. 

The six companies were added to an export blacklist because of their links to the People’s Liberation Army aerospace programs, “including airships and balloons and related materials and components,” according to the department. 

“The [People’s Republic of China’s] use of high-altitude balloons violates our sovereignty and threatens U.S. national security,” said the undersecretary of commerce for industry and security Alan Estevez. “Today’s action makes clear that entities that seek to harm U.S. national security and sovereignty will be cut off from accessing U.S. technologies.”

The move comes after the U.S. military shot down the Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend. 

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The balloon was reportedly used “for intelligence and reconnaissance activities” that threaten U.S. national security interests. However, the Chinese claimed the balloon was used to monitor the weather and it veered off track due to unforeseen natural causes. 

“Today’s action demonstrates our concerted efforts to identify and disrupt the [People’s Republic of China’s] use of surveillance balloons, which have violated the airspace of the United States and more than forty countries,” assistant secretary of commerce for export enforcement Matthew Axelrod said

The six blacklisted companies were Beijing Nanjiang Aerospace Technology Co., China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 48th Research Institute, Dongguan Lingkong Remote Sensing Technology Co., Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co., Guangzhou Tian-Hai-Xiang Aviation Technology Co., Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co, Bloomberg News reported