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.