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U.S. targets Chinese individuals, 24 cos amid South China Sea dispute

The United States on Wednesday targeted 24 Chinese companies and a number of individuals it said were part of ongoing construction and military actions over disputed islands in the South China Sea, the U.S. State and Commerce departments said.

WASHINGTON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday targeted 24 Chinese companies and a number of individuals it said were part of ongoing construction and military actions over disputed islands in the South China Sea, the U.S. State and Commerce departments said.

The U.S. Commerce Department, in a statement, said the two dozen companies played a "role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea."

The State Department, in a separate statement, said it would impose visa restrictions on Chinese individuals "responsible for, or complicit in," such action in the South China Sea, and those linked to China's "use of coercion against Southeast Asian claimants to inhibit their access to offshore resources."

(Reporting by Susan Heavey Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

((202-898-8300; Reuters Messaging: susan.heavey.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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