HONG KONG – The USS Kitty Hawk was scheduled to make a port call in Hong Kong this weekend, five months after being turned away by China, a U.S. Consulate General spokesman said Wednesday.
The aircraft carrier, based in the Japanese port of Yokosuka, tried to make a long-scheduled visit to Hong Kong on Thanksgiving but was turned away after officials said they had not received notification from Beijing to grant access.
Hong Kong has long been a favored port of call for the U.S. military but Beijing's approval has been required since July 1, 1997, when the former British colony was returned to Chinese rule.
Consulate General spokesman Dale Kreisher could not say how the battle group would stay in the territory, citing operational concerns. He also declined to disclose how many support vessels and sailors are coming with the Kitty Hawk, which is based in the Japanese port city of Yokosuka.
Two U.S. navy vessels — the USS Blue Ridge and Nimitz strike group — docked in Hong Kong in late January and early April — after the Thanksgiving incident — which was seen as an indication the two countries were hoping to put the diplomatic fallout behind