Hong Kong : China has refused to give entry to the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Stennis and accompanying naval vessels at Hong Kong port.
It is being speculated that this action was taken due to the growing tensions between the two nations over the Beijing’s moves to assert its claims on the South China Sea.
“We were recently informed that a request for a port visit by a US carrier strike group, including the USS John C Stennis and accompanying vessels, to Hong Kong was denied,” the Guardian quoted commander Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman as saying.
“We have a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, including with the current visit of the USS Blue Ridge, and we expect that will continue,” he added.
Urban highlighted that this was the first time that the US naval ships had been denied permission to make a Hong Kong port call since August 2014.
According to reports, the Chinese foreign ministry has said that port calls by US ships are decided on a “case by case basis in accordance with sovereignty principles and specific circumstances.”
As the Stennis sailed off the Philippines near the disputed area, the US defence secretary Ashton Carter had visited the Stennis on April 15.
Even during a preceding stop in Manila, Carter emphasised that Washington would support the Philippines and other allies as they faced coercion and intimidation.
Both nations also announced that they have begun joint naval patrols in the South China Sea.
South China Sea has been a disputed region as it is being claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan and China.
Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, through which some of the world’s most active shipping lanes pass.(ANI)