De Lima backs US bill to impose sanctions on China for WPS activities



MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila De Lima on Saturday expressed support for a proposed U.S. Senate bill which seeks to sanction China on its activities in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

“Amid China’s continued military activities on the South China Sea that threatens the security of the Philippines and the entire Asean region, I hope that this U.S. Senate bill sanctioning China for any illegal activities in the contested waters can be passed into law soon and finally stop China from bullying its neighbors,” De Lima said in a statement.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin reintroduced Senate Bill No. 1634, or the “South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act,” which seeks to impose sanctions on China for the illegal activities in the contested islands in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

Under the proposed measure, the U.S. Secretary of State is mandated to provide Congress with a report every six months, identifying any Chinese person or company involved in construction or development projects in disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea.

The illegal activities highlighted by the bill include land reclamation, the making of islands, lighthouse construction and the building of mobile communication infrastructure.

“I thank Senator Rubio and other proponents of the measure for reminding us that we need to be steadfast in pressuring China to remove any illegally built facilities and stop any aggressive and unilateral activities in the South China Sea that violate international law,” she expressed her gratitude.

The senator added that instead of “consistently kowtowing” to China, the government should work with its allies, such as Australia, Japan, US and other Associated of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) countries in discussing all possible actions to stop China’s militarization of the South China Sea.

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