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US Navy to make Hong Kong port call after earlier refusal by China

HONG KONG — China is allowing a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and its battle group to make a port call in Hong Kong after it earlier turned down a similar request amid tensions with Washington.

The Hong Kong Marine Department's website listed the USS Ronald Reagan and three other Navy warships as approved to arrive Wednesday.

China in September turned down a request for a Hong Kong port call by the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, the first time it had denied such a visit since 2016.

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser Antietam pulls in to port at the Republic of Korea Navy base on Jeju Island on Oct. 12, 2018. (MC3 William Carlisle/Navy)
Two Navy warships transit Taiwan Strait

Officials in Beijing have yet to comment on passage of the American destroyer and cruiser, but in the past the Chinese government has taken a hard line against Navy vessels transiting the waterway separating mainland China from Taiwan.

The earlier denial came amid a spike in tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea that resulted in various exchanges being put on hold. China claims virtually the entire strategic waterway and regularly challenges U.S. Navy ships sailing close to its island claims in the area.

While such tensions remain, the Reagan’s expected visit precedes a planned meeting later this month between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Argentina that will mark the first time they’ve sat down together since the start of a bitter trade war.

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