The US announced the sanctions and restrictions on 2 dozen Chinese companies and associated officials for taking part in building artificial islands in disputed waters in the South China Sea.
The twenty-four state-owned firms include subsidiaries of construction giant China Communications Construction Co., telecommunications firms and a unit of the China Shipbuilding Group.
The move was the most recent step in Washington’s efforts to pressure Beijing over its military build-up in areas of the South China Sea where sovereignty is contested by several countries.
The United States Commerce Department said the companies “enabled China to construct and militarize disputed outposts in the South China Sea.”
“Since 2013, the PRC (People’s Republic of China) has used its state-owned enterprises to dredge and reclaim more than 3,000 acres on disputed features in the South China Sea, destabilizing the region, trampling on the sovereign rights of its neighbors, and causing untold environmental devastation,” said Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State in a statement.