19:53 GMT28 February 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Fifteen senators are cosponsoring new legislation to impose sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals involved in the assertion of Beijing’s legal claims to the South and East China Seas, US Senator Marco Rubio said in a press release.

    "US Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin today reintroduced the ‘South China Sea and East China Sea Act,’ a bipartisan bill to impose sanctions against Chinese individuals and entities that participate in Beijing’s illegitimate activities to aggressively assert its expansive maritime and territorial claims in these disputed regions", the release said.

    Joining Rubio and Cardin in cosponsoring the bill are Senators Tom Cotton, Tim Kaine, Todd Young, Richard Blumenthal, Josh Hawley, Kirsten Gillibrand, Rick Scott, Joe Manchin, Marsha Blackburn, Tammy Duckworth, John Cornyn, Doug Jones and Mitt Romney, the release said.

    "This bipartisan bill seeks to reinforce America’s strong and enduring commitment to securing a free and open Indo-Pacific, including in the South China Sea and East China Sea", Rubio said.

    Cardin said in the release that China had acted as a "bully" in both the South and East China Seas, encroaching on and intimidating its neighbors and he said such "aggressive behaviour" could not continue unchecked.

    READ MORE: US Needs to Correct Incorrect Actions to Continue Trade Talks — China

    The press release comes after six Republican senators introduced on 15 May a bill that would prohibit Chinese scientists with any ties to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) from entering the United States.

    The latest hit in a trade war was made by Washington on 10 May when $200 billion worth of Chinese goods were subjected to the 25 tariff fee. Beijing pledged on 20 May to retaliate by hiking tariffs on $60 billion worth of US imports starting in June.

    Relations between the two countries have seriously deteriorated since last June when US President Donald Trump decided to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in a bid to fix the trade deficit. Since then, the sides have exchanged several rounds of duties.


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    territorial claims, sanctions, East China Sea, South China Sea, China, United States
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