In the waning days of his administration, President Trump has taken another swipe at China.
On Thursday (January 14), Trump imposed sanctions on officials and companies for their alleged misdeeds in the South China Sea.
It's a move that ratchets up tension just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
The South China Sea is resource rich and a key trade route, but sovereignty over those waters is disputed with China facing competing claims from Vietnam, the Philippines and others.
The U.S. is slapping visa limits on executives of Chinese state-owned enterprises, and officials of the Chinese Communist Party and navy.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the measures target those "responsible for, or complicit in, either the large-scale reclamation, construction, or militarization of disputed outposts in the South China Sea." China's state oil company, CNOOC, will also face new sanctions.
It's accused of harassing and threatening offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction in the South China Sea.
The order also sets its sights on nine Chinese firms - alleging they all have ties to China's military.
The list includes China's homegrown plane maker COMAC but also major smartphone maker Xiaomi.
In a statement, Xiaomi said it was not owned, controlled or affiliated with the Chinese military.
Under the order, U.S. investors would be forced to dump holdings of the blacklisted firms by November.
The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Chinese embassy responded by pointing to previous comments by its Foreign Ministry accusing Washington of exploiting its state power to crack down on foreign companies.
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