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A group of 15 Republican legislators has urged the US Defense Department to deny export licenses for American components used in drones manufactured by Chinese company DJI, citing national security risks.

In their communication to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the lawmakers referenced a recent analysis of a DJI drone that revealed the use of US-manufactured parts, implying the granting of export licenses. They wrote, “The Defense Department should not be recommending approval of export control licenses.” Prominent figures including Representative Elise Stefanik and Senators Marco Rubio and Marsha Blackburn signed the letter.

This comes as the Commerce Department had previously placed DJI on the government’s export control list in December 2020, alleging the company’s involvement in the oppression of China’s Uyghur minority and support for the Chinese military. Additionally, bipartisan efforts are underway to investigate and potentially sanction another Chinese drone manufacturer, Autel Robotics, with proposed legislation to ban US government purchases of Chinese drones following a 2019 Congressional ban on the Pentagon’s use of such drones and components.

In response to the lawmakers’ letter, DJI dismissed the allegations as distortions and misrepresentations, asserting the security and efficiency of their drones.

The Chinese Embassy responded to the news, urging the US to move away from a “Cold War mindset” and cease its unfounded suppression of Chinese companies.


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