Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said this week, “The United States is fully and solely responsible for the current difficulties in China-US relations. ”
Regarding the new sanctions and visa restrictions, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “Since 2013, the PRC has used its state-owned companies to dredge and reclaim over 3,000 acres on disputed features in the South China Sea, destabilizing the region, violating the sovereign rights of its neighbors and causing untold environmental havoc.
“The PRC should not be allowed to use the CCCC and other state-owned enterprises as weapons to impose an expansionist agenda.
“The United States will act until we see Beijing end its coercive behavior in the South China Sea, and we will continue to stand with our allies and partners to resist this destabilizing activity.
Mr Pompeo said that anyone affected by the visa restrictions will not be able to enter the United States, and so will their family members immediately.
A State Department official said the recipients of the restrictions have been identified.
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The official said: “In other words, the party seeking to effect this transfer of products, equipment, software or technology to the parties on the entity list must enter the trade for a specific license, which we then review in consultation with the State and Defense and sometimes Energy departments, and then issue a decision, either an approval or a denial.
During a teleconference regarding the decision, a State Department official said the companies of the Chinese group CCCC and the group itself have “engaged in corruption, predatory financing, destruction of the environment. and other abuses in countries around the world ”.
The official cited examples of which the CCCC was blacklisted by the World Bank in 2009 for “fraudulent tendering practices on a road contract in the Philippines”.
They also said that CCCC’s subsidiary, China Harbor Engineering Corp., had been blacklisted in Bangladesh for allegedly bribing an official.
Last month, Pompeo announced an “updated policy” in the South China Sea, calling Beijing’s claims of offshore resources “over most of the South China Sea” “completely illegal.”
A State Department official said the United States had clarified its position in order to “strengthen our support for the coastal states of Southeast Asia with respect for their sovereign rights, and to reflect our deep concern over the increasingly brazen manner in which Beijing has deployed coercive tactics to inhibit other applicants’ access to offshore marine resources. “