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US Senate Panel Advances Bill to Impose Sanctions Tied to South China Sea Issues

© REUTERSIn this image from video, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., speaks on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
In this image from video, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., speaks on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.10.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would impose sanctions on Chinese individuals and entities involved in activities related to China's territorial disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea, the panel's chairman Bob Menendez said in a statement.
"At today's business meeting, SFRC passed S. 1657, the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act of 2021," Menendez wrote on Twitter. "The bill moves next to the Senate Floor."
On October 7, the US Navy reported, several days after the incident, that the nuclear-powered submarine Connecticut, heading for Guam, struck an object while operating in international waters in the South China Sea.
Despite the fact there were no casualties, the incident still could aggravate tense relations between the countries, especially after the recent US decision to transfer nuclear-powered submarines to Australia under the AUKUS deal, according to Marc Finaud, the head of arms proliferation research at the Geneva Center for Security Policy.
Britain's Royal Navy ship. (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.10.2021
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Beijing criticized Washington's "irresponsible and secretive approach" regarding the matter and urged the US to explain in detail where the collision happened and what kind of a collision it was.
The situation in the region is often complicated by the passage of US warships, which, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, violates international law and undermines China's sovereignty and security.
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