The move comes shortly after Vietnam, another claimant in the South China Sea, banned the Sony Pictures action movie, starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. It was released in the Philippines on February 23.
The two-second frame in the film contains an image of the so-called nine-point line, which represents China’s claims in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the scene “contradicts the national interest.”
The U-shaped line is a feature used on Chinese maps to indicate its maritime territory in an area where Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, the Philippines, and Malaysia have competing claims.
A 2016 ruling by an arbitration court in The Hague invalidated China’s claims about nearly the entire waterway through which $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes annually. Beijing did not participate in the court proceedings and does not recognize the ruling.
The State Department said Sony’s Columbia Pictures Industries had instructed and complied with the film’s release. Sony Pictures did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.