The Trump administration reported on Thursday that it would strongly confine fares of civilian nuclear technology to China that authorities guaranteed was being redirected to power new generations of Chinese submarines, aircraft carriers, and drifting atomic power plants.
The declaration blended security warnings with longstanding objections that Beijing was proceeding to steal nuclear-related technology from American firms to profit Chinese state-owned organizations. In a call with correspondents, in any case, administration authorities uncovered little of the intelligence proof that they said would back up their claims. The move gave off an impression of being a piece of a more deliberate effort by the administration to put new pressure on China past the taxes that President Trump has proclaimed on Chinese goods.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration said it would impose another survey system on foreign investments to avert adversaries — predominantly China — from acquiring new technology by taking minority stakes in American organizations or beginning joint ventures here. Likewise, on Wednesday, the Justice Department declared the arrest of a Chinese intelligence officer who was accused of taking confidential data from GE Aviation, one of the largest suppliers of jet engines.
China has been an established atomic weapons nation since the mid-1960s. While the Trump administration said it was acting to reduce growth, actually China is largely independent with regards to developing nuclear weapons.
The confinements reported on Thursday largely aimed at fears that superior reactors, particularly conservative power plants that could fuel China's ambitions to extend control, would speed the development of the Chinese military as a force with worldwide reach. The administration authorities, who instructed journalists on the state of anonymity, said Beijing was looking specifically to create floating atomic power reactors for use in the South China Sea, where it is building military instillations on redeemed reefs.
China is certifiably not a major customer for American nuclear technology; just about $170 million in atomic related sales went to Chinese clients a year ago. In any case, the declaration on Thursday added up to a crucial setback in cooperative agreements that have had a checkered history since the Reagan administration.