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China rejects US Navy warship USS Wasp request to visit to Hong Kong

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The USS Wasp joins other U.S. Navy vessels
The
USS Wasp joins other U.S. Navy vessels


REUTERS/Jonathan
Drake




  • Amid a number of economic, geopolitical, and military
    disputes between China and the US, Beijing has rejected a US
    Navy warship’s request to make a port call in Hong Kong next
    month.
  • The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp is operating in
    the East China Sea.
  • The rejection of the ship’s port call request comes as
    the US and China quarrel over trade and sanctions, as well as
    longstanding issues like the South China Sea, the Korean
    Peninsula, and Taiwan.

China has refused to grant a US Navy warship permission to make a
port call in Hong Kong, the local US consulate reported Tuesday,

according
to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, which carries the F-35B
Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, was expected to visit the
former British colony next month,
according
to The Wall Street Journal. But Beijing has denied
the US Navy’s request, another sign of deteriorating ties between
the US and China.

It is not uncommon for China to deny US port call requests when
it is displeased with the countries’ relations — as was the case
in April 2016, when Beijing refused to allow the aircraft carrier
USS John Stennis to visit Hong Kong amid rising tensions in the
South China Sea.

Locked in an intensifying trade war, both
Washington and Beijing have targeted one another with hundreds of
billions of dollars in punitive trade tariffs. The US is
criticizing China for economic aggression and unfair trade
practices, and China perceives US actions as a clear exercise in
containment, an effort by the hegemonic power to cripple the rise
of a developing challenger.

The US imposed a 10% tariff on $200
billion worth of Chinese products Monday
, and China
immediately retaliated with duties on $60 billion in American
goods.

Tensions, however, extend well beyond economic exchanges and into
military ties. The US
sanctioned
the primary procurement division of the Chinese
military for purchasing Russian weapons systems in violation of
sanctions, namely the advanced Su-35 fighter jet and the S-400
surface-to-air missile system. China expressed “outrage” and
accused the US of trying to constrain its military power. Beijing
warned that it would take “countermeasures” if the US did not
“correct its mistake.”

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang
summoned
 US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad over
the sanctions. Meanwhile, China’s defense ministry recalled Vice
Admiral Shen Jinlong, canceling a scheduled meeting with his US
counterpart, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson,
Reuters
reported
.

Further complicating matters, the US has
approved
a $330 million arms deal with Taiwan that will
improve the combat readiness of Taiwan’s air assets. Chinese
state media strongly urged the US to cancel the deal and suspend
military-to-military relations with Taiwan, which Beijing
considers a separatist province.

All of this comes as other longstanding issues, such as the South
China Sea and the Korean Peninsula, continue to weigh heavily on
the relationship between the US and China, two major powers with
national interests often in conflict with one another.

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