Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act, which would sanction Chinese individuals and entities that participate in Beijing’s illegitimate operations in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

“China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea are illegitimate and threaten the region’s security and American commerce, with reverberations that can be felt here at home, including Florida’s ports and throughout our state’s shipping and cargo economy,” 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 added. “Consistent with international law, China should not be allowed to interfere in any way with the free use of the waters and airspace in the South China Sea and East China Sea by civilian and military ships and aircraft of all countries.” 

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 (SCS) or East China Sea (ECS);
  • Impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate a significant financial transaction for sanctioned individuals and entities if China takes certain actions in the SCS or ECS, including declaring an air defense identification zone or increasing activities at Scarborough Shoal;
  • Mandate a report on individuals and entities involved in sanctionable activities, including some employees of certain Chinese companies;
  • Prohibit the publication of documents portraying the SCS or the ECS as part of China, investments in the SCS or the ECS, and the recognition of the annexation of the SCS or the ECS; and
  • Restrict foreign assistance to countries that recognize China’s sovereignty in the SCS or the ECS.