US prepares anti-China sanctions, Vietnam reiterates call for compliance with int'l law

By Viet Anh   October 21, 2021 | 04:30 am PT
US prepares anti-China sanctions, Vietnam reiterates call for compliance with int'l law
Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in Vietnam's Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft May 21, 2015. Photo by U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters
Vietnam has reiterated its appeal that all related parties comply with international law on South China Sea issues as a U.S. committee passes a sanctions bill targeting Chinese aggression.

"Vietnam's consistent stance is that countries need to abide by international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to respect littoral nations' sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press meet Thursday.

She was responding to a request for a comment on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passing a bipartisan bill imposing sanctions on China for its aggressive activities in the South China and East China Seas.

In Vietnam, the South China Sea is called the East Sea.

The bill imposes sanctions against Chinese individuals and entities that participate in Beijing’s attempts to "aggressively assert its expansive maritime and territorial claims" in the two seas.

Senator Marco Rubio, an original co-sponsor of the legislation, said the committee passing the bill was an important first step, which could be an additional tool for the U.S. to confront Beijing, as it continued its efforts to "unlawfully assert control over maritime territory" in the South and East China Seas. He urged the full Senate to swiftly pass the legislation.

If the Congress passes the bill, President Joe Biden will sign it into law.

In 2020, the U.S. penalized 24 Chinese companies, citing their role in "helping the Chinese military construct artificial islands in the South China Sea, which was internationally condemned."

The list included the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), China Shipbuilding Group, and the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation.

China has drawn widespread flak for unilaterally outlining its infamous "nine-dash line", illegally claiming historical jurisdiction over almost the entire South China Sea, violating UNCLOS regulations and ignoring objections of the international community.

China has also illegally built seven illegal artificial islands in Vietnam’s Spratly Islands and dramatically militarized them into outposts. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, rejected China's "nine-dash line" claim.

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