Rubio Introduces Bill Sanctioning China
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican of Florida, introduced yesterday the “South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act,” which would sanction Chinese individuals and entities that participate in Beijing’s operations in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
China has been building artificial islands to house military bases in the South China Sea, part of a larger strategy to claim hegemony over thhe western part of the Pacific Ocean. Other countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei also have territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The Philippines won legal claims against China before a United Nations arbitration panel earlier this year, a determination which China has rejected. Vietnam recently upgraded some of its military capabilites on South China Sea islands.
Thousands of cargo ships transit the waters of the South China Sea every day, connecting markets and goods in East Asia with the Middle East and Europe. An estimated $5.3 trillion in annual trade, $1.2 trillion of which begins or ends at U.S ports, and one-third of the world’s liquefied natural gas passes through the South China Sea on a yearly basis.
“China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea are illegitimate and threaten the region’s security and American commerce,” said Rubio. “The security of our allies in the region and our own economic livelihoods cannot be endangered by Beijing’s ongoing, flagrant violations of international norms in its pursuit of dominance in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Beijing’s illegitimate activities in these waters need to end, and the sanctions called for in this legislation would hold violators accountable and serve as a deterrent to others.”
Rubio’s bill would require the president to impose sanctions and prohibit visas for Chinese individuals and entities who contribute to construction or development projects, and those who threaten the peace, security or stability of the South China Sea or East China Sea and on any financial institution that facilitates a transaction for sanctioned individuals and entities. It would also prohibit the publication of documents portraying the SCS or the ECS as part of China and restrict foreign assistance to countries that recognize China’s sovereignty in the South China or East China seas.