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Thread: USS Kitty Hawk Turned Away From Hong Kong

  1. marilynnedayle
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    USS Kitty Hawk Turned Away From Hong Kong

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    This is the most up to date article on this issue, and I think one of the better written with more details (I love the people at my paper):

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    TEXT:


    The USS Kitty Hawk wasn't supposed to be here. It was supposed to be wrapping up a long-planned visit to Hong Kong, but China barred the ship at the last minute, offering little explanation.

    Beijing, meanwhile, went ahead with plans for a high-profile port call of its own, making the Chinese military's first visit to Japan since World War II.

    So, on Friday, a Chinese destroyer and the aging American aircraft carrier sat docked in the same waters, at separate ports, one quietly awaiting two months of repairs and the other basking in a flurry of welcoming ceremonies, honor bands and smiling assurances that China's ever-growing military is "very transparent."

    Officially, Tokyo hailed the Chinese ship's visit.

    "This is truly a new page in Japan-China relations," Adm. Eiji Yoshikawa, the chief of staff for Japan's navy, said at a ceremony for the guided missile cruiser Shenzhen, which docked at a Tokyo pier on Wednesday. "We welcome this visit with all our hearts."

    But both Tokyo and Washington are deeply concerned about recent Chinese military activities, particularly its rapid improvements in missile technology, the modernization of its huge standing army and the expanding reach of its navy.

    Early this year, tensions came to a head when China used a ground-based missile to shoot down an old weather satellite at an orbital height similar to that used by the U.S. military. It was the first-ever such test by any nation.

    Tokyo and Washington are also troubled by double-digit growth in China's annual military spending, coupled with Beijing's reluctance to divulge military-related information, all of which made the Kitty Hawk incident last week even more disconcerting.

    Relations between the U.S. and China have also been strained in recent months by disputes over trade and Iran's nuclear program.

    Several days before the aircraft carrier and its strike group were turned back, Beijing refused to let two U.S. Navy minesweepers enter Hong Kong harbor to escape an approaching storm and refuel. The minesweepers, the Patriot and the Guardian, were instead refueled at sea and returned safely to their home port in Japan.

    The Kitty Hawk, which had been scheduled to return on Dec. 1, arrived at this base just south of Tokyo on Tuesday.

    U.S. military officials protested Beijing's seeming caprice. President Bush mentioned it in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the White House on Wednesday.

    Yang called it a "misunderstanding," but offered no apology.

    But in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao later backed away from that characterization, saying that ties had been "disturbed and harmed" by "erroneous" U.S. actions.

    Liu specifically mentioned the U.S. Congress' awarding its highest civilian honor to the Dalai Lama last month as an issue that had upset relations. Though the Tibetan spiritual leader is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, Beijing demonizes the monk and claims he seeks to destroy China's sovereignty by pushing for independence for Tibet.

    Also hurting relations were arms sales to Taiwan, an island which China regards as a renegade province, he said.

    But U.S. military officials balked at such explanations.

    "As someone who has been going to sea all my life, if there is one tenet that we observe it's when somebody is in need you provide (assistance) and you sort it out later," Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of U.S. naval operations, told reporters Thursday.

    Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, was more blunt.

    "This is perplexing. It's not helpful," he said of the port call incidents. "It's not, in our view, conduct that is indicative of a country that understands its obligations as a responsible nation."

    Japan, which forms a natural arc blocking China from the Pacific, is in a highly sensitive position.

    While it hosts the largest U.S. naval base overseas, Tokyo has emphasized expanded engagement with China in hopes of opening up Beijing and keeping potential flare-ups under control.

    Economic cooperation has grown rapidly, but political ties continue to be colored by regional rivalry and a lingering legacy of animosity from Japan's invasion and occupation of parts of China in the 1930s and '40s.

    The potential for clashes at sea is particularly high.

    Japan and China have territorial disputes over gas fields in the East China Sea, and Japan depends heavily on sea lanes near China for the free passage of its oil imports from the Middle East.

    Aboard the Shenzhen, Rear Adm. Xiao Xinnian said worries about China's military growth are unfounded.

    "There shouldn't be any concern," he told a small group of reporters. "In my personal opinion, China's effort to modernize its military is very transparent."

    He added that China's military strategy is defensive and its growth is in step with the growth of China's economy and international role.
  2. marilynnedayle
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    Another article.

    DIRECT LINK:
    http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/sto...MPLATE=DEFAULT

    TEXT:

    The Chinese rejection of U.S. ship visits into Hong Kong is broader than initially reported, the Pentagon said Friday, revealing for the first time that a third incident had occurred last week.

    According to a defense official, a request for the USS Reuben James, a Navy frigate, to make a New Year's holiday stop in Hong Kong was formally denied by the Chinese last Thursday. The denial came the same day the Chinese turned away the USS Kitty Hawk and five ships accompanying it for a Thanksgiving port call.

    The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the denial had not been publicly announced, said the Reuben James, based in Pearl Harbor, had made the port visit request in October.

    According to the official, shortly after the Kitty Hawk was turned away, the Chinese reversed their decision and said the ship could enter the harbor, but by then the ship was too far out to sea. During that notification, the Chinese also told the Navy that the Reuben James visit was being denied. No reason was given for the refusal.

    The official said the denial was both over the phone and in writing, and added that there are no other pending requests for US ship visits to the Hong Kong harbor.

    White House press secretary Dana Perino said, "We will be able to work it out with them."

    "This incident has not prevented us from being able to work with the Chinese. We are two very large countries, very powerful countries," she said. "This relationship is growing and maturing, and this is something that two nations should be able to work through, and I don't think escalating it every day is necessary."

    Until now, the Navy has considered Hong Kong one of the sailors' favorite post of call, with about 50 ship visits per year.

    In addition to the Kitty Hawk and the Reuben James, the Chinese also refused to let two Navy minesweepers enter Hong Kong harbor to escape an approaching storm and receive fuel - an incident Navy officials said it found far more disturbing since it violates an international rule of the sea to provide safe harbor for vessels in trouble.

    The minesweepers, the Patriot and the Guardian, were instead refueled at sea and returned safely to their home port in Japan.

    Prior to the latest three incidents, the most recent port visit denial came in 2004.

    China has hinted that Congress' honoring of the Dalai Lama and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan triggered the problems, which have cast a new shadow over military relations between the two countries.

    The Pentagon summoned a Chinese military attache to protest the decision, which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, called "perplexing." President Bush raised the issue with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi during their talks on North Korea, Iran and other issues.
  3. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #3
    Honestly, I don't trust China one bit. Something just seems so fishy.....

    We need to stop being so damn dependent on them and start taking care of ourselves. American companies need to keep work HERE.... start making our OWN stuff instead of importing it.

    I think our dependence on China is crippling us. I really do. And I have a bad feeling about them.
  4. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    Honestly, I don't trust China one bit. Something just seems so fishy.....

    We need to stop being so damn dependent on them and start taking care of ourselves. American companies need to keep work HERE.... start making our OWN stuff instead of importing it.

    I think our dependence on China is crippling us. I really do. And I have a bad feeling about them.
  5. marilynnedayle
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    It makes me nervous too. I was really mad when I read about this. How dare you turn away the Sailors and Marines who are out on deployment?! I would have flipped out on somebody if I flew over there and saw the ship simply cruise on by because they couldn't dock.

    It makes me nervous because Taiwan wants to join the United Nations. China is totally against this as they believe that Taiwan is actually part of China and not an independent country. We've agreed to back up Taiwan if China does threaten them. I worry about it. I worry that Shannon will be sent right back out again if that happens.

    I know they want to join the UN soon. I just don't know excatly when.
  6. Senior Member
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    That's a shame...DH's favorite port so far (after two deployments) is Hong Kong.
  7. I'm Only A Little Crazy
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    Honestly, I don't trust China one bit. Something just seems so fishy.....

    We need to stop being so damn dependent on them and start taking care of ourselves. American companies need to keep work HERE.... start making our OWN stuff instead of importing it.

    I think our dependence on China is crippling us. I really do. And I have a bad feeling about them.

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