China urged the U.S. Senate on Thursday to stop deliberating on a proposal to sanction Chinese individuals and entities for “illegal and dangerous activities” in the South China Sea.
Addressing the media in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said the proposed sanctions legislation violates international law.
U.S. Republican Senator Marco Rubio is leading a drive to introduce the legislation.
Rubio told the South China Morning Post that a group of Senators would reintroduce the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Bill on Thursday.
“The legislation violates the basic norms of international law and international relations and the Chinese side, of course, firmly objects,” Kang said.
“Construction of reefs on disputed territory -- one of the activities cited in the draft legislation – is fully within the scope of China’s sovereign rights,” he said, urging the U.S. not to proceed with deliberation on the legislation “in order not to bring new disruption to China-U.S. relations”.
If passed, Washington would seize U.S.-based financial assets and revoke or deny U.S. visas to anyone engaged in “actions or policies that threaten the peace, security or stability” of areas in the South China Sea that are contested by one or more members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the report said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has said that two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait Wednesday.
The move is seen as an apparent provocation by Washington to challenge China’s claims in the region.
Beijing claims Taiwan as its territory and often complains about any foreign ships entering what it says are Chinese territorial waters.
The latest provocation came after the U.S. Navy held drills in the South China Sea last Sunday.
By Riyaz ul Khaliq