"Construction on Chinese territory in the South China Sea is a matter completely within our sovereignty. The [US Senate's act] runs counter to international law and basic norms governing international relations. China firmly opposes it. We urge the US not to move forward the review process to prevent further disruption to bilateral relations", the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, the US Senate reintroduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act that, if passed, would require the US government to seize US-based financial assets and revoke or deny visas to Chinese companies and individuals involved in the assertion of Beijing's legal claims to the South and East China Seas.
The legislation was previously introduced in 2017 but did not move from the US Foreign Relations Committee to the full Senate.
On Wednesday, media reported, citing the spokesman for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, Clay Doss, that the US military had sent two warships to sail through the Taiwan Strait in the South China Sea, with Doss saying that the transit demonstrated "the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific". China issued a representation to the United States about the passing.
China claims the South China Sea as sovereign territory and has built military bases on artificial islands. The United States views the sea as an international waterway and routinely defies China with patrols by US and allied warships in so-called freedom of navigation exercises.
When the UN court recognized in 2016 these lands as territories belonging to the Philippines, whose claim was based on the grounds of geographical proximity, China boycotted the ruling.