MILITARY

US Navy commander says canceled HK visit a minor hurdle

  • Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin, commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th fleet, center, shakes hands with Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Rear Admiral Zhi Tianlong, left, during a visit by USS Blue Ridge at a port in Shanghai, Friday, May 6, 2016. The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet has dismissed the cancellation of a planned port visit to Hong Kong by an American aircraft carrier as a minor hurdle in relations between the two militaries. (AP Photo)

    Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin, commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th fleet, center, shakes hands with Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Rear Admiral Zhi Tianlong, left, during a visit by USS Blue Ridge at a port in Shanghai, Friday, May 6, 2016. The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet has dismissed the cancellation of a planned port visit to Hong Kong by an American aircraft carrier as a minor hurdle in relations between the two militaries. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy watch as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai, Friday, May 6, 2016. The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet has dismissed the cancellation of a planned port visit to Hong Kong by an American aircraft carrier as a minor hurdle in relations between the two militaries. (AP Photo)

    Soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy watch as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai, Friday, May 6, 2016. The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet has dismissed the cancellation of a planned port visit to Hong Kong by an American aircraft carrier as a minor hurdle in relations between the two militaries. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy band plays as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai, Friday, May 6, 2016. The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet has dismissed the cancellation of a planned port visit to Hong Kong by an American aircraft carrier as a minor hurdle in relations between the two militaries. (AP Photo)

    A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy band plays as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai, Friday, May 6, 2016. The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet has dismissed the cancellation of a planned port visit to Hong Kong by an American aircraft carrier as a minor hurdle in relations between the two militaries. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet has dismissed the cancellation of a planned port visit to Hong Kong by an American aircraft carrier as a minor hurdle in relations between the two militaries.

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin spoke Friday in China's financial hub of Shanghai after the docking of the USS Blue Ridge, the fleet's command ship.

The U.S. State Department said last week that China recently denied a request for the USS John C. Stennis to visit the city, in an apparent sign of mounting tension in the disputed South China Sea.

Aucoin said he didn't know why the visit was canceled, although Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his Philippine counterpart had visited the carrier in the South China Sea two weeks earlier, irking Beijing.