China suddenly and inexplicably blocked a four-day visit by the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and its strike group, despite prior approval and weeks of planning, ruining Thanksgiving for thousands of sailors and their families:
The 8,000-member crew was due in Hong Kong on Wednesday for a four-day visit to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.China reversed the decision to refuse entry to the Kitty Hawk Thursday and said that the visit could go ahead "based on humanitarian considerations," but only after the Kitty Hawk headed for its home port, the missing families who had flown to Hong Kong to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.
Some were planning to join family members who had flown in from the United States, Japan and the Philippines. While the ships were nearby in the South China Sea, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a “last-minute” refusal of the port call, the State Department said.
Hong Kong has long been a favored port of call for the U.S. Navy. In the 10 years since Britain handed the former colony back to China U.S. Navy ships have occasionally been barred from Hong Kong when relations are strained. So why the slap at the Kitty Hawk, its sailors and families?
The Associated Press suggests it could be disagreement over or Congress's recognition the Dalai Lama:
In recent weeks, ties have been strained over disputes on trade and 's nuclear program as well as Congress's awarding a medal to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader whom China's Communist government considers an enemy.The Los Angeles Times reports China's abrupt action could relate to displeasure over an upgrade to Taiwan's Patriot II antimissile shield; a desire to send a message before an imminent Hong Kong election; and U.S. criticism over Chinese espionage activities.
The cancellation of the Kitty Hawk’s visit was not only a disappointment to U.S. sailors and their families.
Foreign servicemen and women, mainly from American ships, spend tens of millions of dollars in the city.