U.S. Warships Pass Through Taiwan Strait After China Rejects Port Call


Gerlie Anobong - AHN News Writer
November 29, 2007 4:58 p.m. EST

Tokyo, Japan (AHN) - After the Chinese government initially refused to allow a U.S. warship to dock in Hong Kong last week, sources say the Navy ordered the vessels to return to port in Japan, and to specifically travel along the contentious Taiwan Strait on its way back to Yokosuka.

The United States has cautiously avoided traveling through the Taiwan Strait since 1996, when Taiwan's first presidential vote created turmoil. However, sources say that following China's rejection on November 21, six aircraft carriers, including the USS Kitty Hawk, moved in the South China Sea, crossing the Taiwan Strait.

According to Japanese reports, the U.S. Navy carriers deployed aircraft to the flight decks in preparation for launch, if the situation called for it.

The USS Kitty Hawk, in previous years, has traveled to Hong Kong during the Thanksgiving holiday, to allow sailors to meet up with friends and family. However, the carrier group was denied entry into Hong Kong for indefinite reasons, a move China quickly remedied saying they had overturned the ban on "humanitarian grounds."

Later, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi would deny reports that the ban was a "misunderstanding," but refused to elaborate.

Nonetheless, the U.S. Navy pulled the plug on the port call, and ordered the ships to sail back to Yokosuka, Japan.