Hong Kong: A US aircraft carrier docked in Hong Kong on Wednesday, days after a pair of American B-52 bombers flew over the disputed South China Sea. The arrival of the USS Ronald Reagan and its battle group in the Asian financial hub comes after China rejected a similar request by another US Navy ship amid a spike in tensions between the countries’ militaries.
The Reagan’s visit is being seen as a friendly gesture ahead of a planned meet later this month between President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping that will mark the first time they’ve sat down together since the start of a bitter trade war. China has demanded the US cease military activity of all kind near its South China Sea island claims that it has been rapidly fortifying.
The US says it takes no stance on sovereignty claims, but will continue to sail and operate wherever international law permits.In late September, a Chinese destroyer came close to the USS Decatur in the South China Sea in what the US Navy called an “unsafe and unprofessional maneuver. The Navy said in a statement that during the Reagan’s visit, interactions will take place with Hong Kong citizens through sports, community relations projects and tours of the carrier. Over 4,400 men and women are usually aboard the ship.