Tension may be escalating between China and the United States along the South China Sea. The Chinese has just decided to turn away a U.S. warship as territorial dispute with a number of U.S. allies such as the Philippines continue.
This is supposed to be a routine visit, a symbol of goodwill between the two countries despite some tensions in its relations with each other due to a host of issues.
The South China Sea territorial dispute has gotten Washington split when it comes to its interests and allies. On the one hand, the White House sees the need to work with China on the threat of nuclear terrorism as a big priority. On the other hand, the country would also have to see to it that relations between the U.S. and allies like the Philippines are not compromised altogether.
On Thursday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong had informed the U.S. embassy that it will not allow the U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis and its accompanying vessels to make a port visit to Hong Kong at this time.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the plan was for the vessels to do a brief port stay of around five days starting on May 3.
China’s refusal to allow a U.S. warship and its accompanying vessels to make a scheduled stop comes after the U.S. had announced it will increased its military presence in the Philippines, one of the countries that China has long been engaged in a territorial dispute with.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter was also recently in the Philippines to strengthen U.S. alliance with the nation.
Last week, the U.S. also flew A-10C Thunderbolt II warplanes near Scarborough Shoal, a disputed territory between China and the Philippines, to send Beijing a clear message regarding its intentions to use the shoal for military purposes.
Beijing had also denied an American port visit as recent as last year when the guided-missile destroyer, USS Haley, was also turned away.