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US government blocks Chinese airlines as tensions escalate over coronavirus and Hong Kong

Olivia Rudgard
Air China and China Eastern planes wait at the gates at Los Angeles International Airport in September last year - DANIEL SLIM /AFP

The US government has banned Chinese passenger airlines from flying to the US amid growing tensions between the two countries. 

The move retaliates against China, which has not lifted an order barring US airlines from flying to its airports. 

The order is expected to come into force on June 16 and bars seven Chinese airlines, but does not affect flights from Hong Kong, the US Department of Transportation said.

“Should the CAAC (Civil Aviation Authority of China) adjust its policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for US carriers, the Department is fully prepared to revisit the action it has announced in this order,” a spokesman said. 

The coronavirus pandemic and China’s move to limit the autonomy of Hong Kong have worsened relations between the two countries.

It comes as UK government officials reportedly discussed the UK’s 5G networks with rivals to Chinese company Huawei.

Read more | Huawei 5G storm

The government is now in talks with Samsung and NEC Corp, Bloomberg reported, as opposition to Huawei’s  involvement grows.

China's early handling of the coronavirus pandemic has led to internal opposition within the government to greater links between the hardware firm and British infrastructure.