The Donald Trump administration has decided to limit sales of United States’ civil nuclear technology to China to prevent use for military or unauthorized purposes, thus heightening further tensions between the two countries. “The United States cannot ignore the national security implications of China’s efforts to obtain nuclear technology outside of established processes of US-China civil nuclear cooperation,” CNN quoted the US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry as saying on Thursday, October 11.
Officials said that the National Security Council led a review of China’s efforts to advanced technology, nuclear material, and equipment from American companies, which was done due to Beijing’s effort to acquire US intellectual property that could pose a risk to Washington’s businesses and military interests.
Explaining the move behind the decision to limit the import of nuclear components to Beijing, an administration official said,
“The administration concluded that a change in US civil nuclear cooperation with China is necessary to strike an appropriate balance between long-term risks to US national security and economic interests and the impact on the US nuclear industrial base.”
The official added that China is “actively pursuing our advanced nuclear technology for diversion to military use in its third-generation nuclear power submarine, in the development of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and in strategic dual-use nuclear-powered platforms, such as small modular reactors and floating nuclear power plants deployable in the South China Sea.”
The decision came as Washington and Beijing have been engaged in an escalating trade war from the past few months, with both nations slapping high tariffs on each other’s goods and imports. This has led to the straining of ties between the world’s two largest economies.
In September 2018, the US President Donald Trump imposed a fresh 10 percent tariffs on Chinese products amounting to USD 200 billion. Beijing then retaliated with tariffs worth USD 60 billion of American goods. Both the countries have threatened new waves of tariffs in the near future.