The Chinese government has blocked a US Navy ship from docking in Hong Kong amid a growing diplomatic feud between the two countries over strict military sanctions imposed by Washington.
The USS Wasp, an amphibious assault ship comparable to a baby aircraft carrier, with a crew of more than 1,000 sailors, was scheduled to make a port call in Hong Kong next month according to two US officials
It isn’t the first time Beijing has canceled a visit by a US warship in protest.
“The Chinese side reviews and approves such request in accordance with the principle of sovereignty and in light of specific situation on a case-by-case basis,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday.
The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) transits the Strait of Magellan in an undated US government photo.
The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) transits the Strait of Magellan in an
China’s response to the new US sanctions has been quick and severe. The decision to cancel the port visit followed Beijing’s move to also withdraw from a high-level meeting between the top Chinese and US naval commanders, due to be held this week
Adding fuel to the fire, the US moved ahead Tuesday with its approval of $330 million in arms sales to Taiwan, primarily spare parts for the island’s air force.
Although the sale was expected, the new arms sale comes at a particularly sensitive point in cross-straits relations and is likely to further exacerbate strained tensions between China and the US.
Taiwan, which has been self-governed since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, is considered by Beijing to be
Relations between China and Taiwan are at their worst point in years, as Beijing fears attitudes on the island have increasingly turned against unification with the mainland and towards full independence.
Ren Guoqiang, China’s Ministry of Defense spokesman, said the US sale to Taiwan had “severely violated” Beijing’s policy of One China.
“(It) interfered with China’s domestic affairs and harmed China’s sovereignty and security interests, and seriously damaged China-US ties, relations between the two militaries, as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” he said in a briefing Tuesday.
Ties between the US and Taiwan have strengthened under the Trump administration, with Washington approving further arms sales and opening a new unofficial embassy in Taipei
Chinese military expert Song Zhongping was quoted in Beijing-based state media tabloid Global Times saying the arms sale was a “time bomb” in China-US relations, “and the fuse is in the hands of the US.”
“If the US continues its provocations or even directly supports ‘Taiwan independence,’ it could create the potential for military conflict between the two countries,” Song told state media.
A knife to the neck
China’s deputy trade negotiator Wang Shouwen said on Tuesday there was little prospect of reopening negotiations with the United States, adding it was hard to negotiate “with someone when he puts a knife on your neck.”