China refuses to allow US warships to make port calls in Hong Kong

China refuses to allow US warships to make port calls in Hong Kong

In this April 20, 2019, file photo, a US marine patrols on the deck of the USS Blue Ridge, flagship of the US Seventh Fleet, during a port call in Hong Kong, April 20, 2019. (AP)
In this April 20, 2019, file photo, a US marine patrols on the deck of the USS Blue Ridge, flagship of the US Seventh Fleet, during a port call in Hong Kong, April 20, 2019. (AP)

HONG KONG: China has refused port visits to Hong Kong by two US warships amid continued trade tensions and diplomatic spats between the two sides over pro-democracy protests in the Asian financial hub.

The Chinese government denied permission for the USS Green Bay and the USS Lake Erie to visit Hong Kong in the coming weeks, Commander Nate Christensen, a deputy spokesman for the US Pacific Fleet, said. The Green Bay is an amphibious transport dock while the Lake Erie is guided-missile cruiser.

“The US Navy has a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, and we expect them to continue,” Christensen said. “We refer you to the Chinese government for further information about why they denied the request.”

China’s foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday that the country has always approved port visits by US warships “case by case, on the basis of sovereignty principles and specific situations,” without elaborating.

The move comes as the US and China spar in a protracted trade war and American lawmakers criticise the Hong Kong police’s tactics against demonstrators who have protested for more than two months. China has accused the US of instigating protesters to violence, citing communications between American officials and activists -- a claim Washington denies.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet Tuesday that reports from US intelligence agencies show the Chinese government is moving troops to its border with Hong Kong, stoking fears of a possible intervention. “Everyone should be calm and safe!” Trump said, without providing details about when he received the information.

Beijing last refused a US naval port call to the former British colony in September, when it denied a visit to the amphibious assault ship the USS Wasp days after Washington sanction the Chinese military over Russian arms purchases.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (26)

Tight security for Wednesday's arrival of Pope Francis

Tight security and traffic controls have been put in place for the 4-day visit by Pope Francis from Wednesday, with 6,500 police to be deployed in Bangkok and Nakhon Pathom.

14:54

100 protesters still holding out in Hong Kong university

HONG KONG: About 100 anti-government protesters remained holed up at a Hong Kong university on Tuesday, unsure what to do next as food supplies dwindled and a police siege of the campus in its third day.

14:48

Title in question

Surveyors will demarcate 900 rai of "family land" occupied by government MP Pareena Kraikupt and believed held under documents that would give her no ownership right to it.

13:45