China claimed today that it was a “series of tricks” played by the U.S. military that prompted the communist nation to refuse a port visit to American warships in Hong Kong recently, but said that the military snub should not be blown out of proportion.
An unsigned Op-Ed appearing in The Global Times, an English-language paper published by China’s communist party, says that China usually allows U.S. warships to stop in Hong Kong but has refused on occasion when “there was a chill in Sino-US ties.”
“Normally, China does not articulate its reasons, and this has been considered as a diplomatic gesture of expressing its dissatisfaction as well as taking the bilateral divergences under control,” the paper says. But it says that over the last few years “the Pentagon has played a series of tricks against China, creating quite an unpleasant atmosphere between the two sides.”
The paper says the U.S. has been “showcasing its military muscle by sending naval vessels and warplanes to China,” actions it described as a “blowhard performance” by the Pentagon.
“That seems to be changing the nature of the Sino-US frictions. Due to the severe strategic suspicions, military problems have unprecedentedly emerged between the two,” the paper says.
The Pentagon said Friday that a carrier strike group, led by the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, had been denied a port visit in Hong Kong that was planned for this week. The news was passed along to the U.S. from China via a diplomatic note, said a Defense official.