World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


US Pacific Commander Criticizes PRC On Naval Issue

By Al Pessin

US Pacific Commander Criticizes China on Naval Issue

The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific has criticized China for denying three U.S. Navy ships access to Hong Kong Harbor in recent weeks, saying the decisions were not responsible. The commander spoke with reporters at the Pentagon via satellite from his headquarters in Hawaii.

Admiral Timothy Keating said the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk and its support ships were scheduled to visit Hong Kong over the American Thanksgiving holiday last week, but Chinese authorities denied permission to enter the city's harbor at the last minute.

"This is perplexing. It's not helpful," he said. "It is not, in our view, conduct that is indicative of a country that understands its obligations as a responsible nation."

The admiral says hundreds of family members of the task force's crew had flown to Hong Kong at their own expense to meet the ship and spend the holiday with their loved ones. He says China later granted permission for the Kitty Hawk to visit, but by then the ship had changed course and it was too late to return.

Admiral Keating says another incident a few days earlier was even more disturbing. He says two small Navy ships that hunt for mines at sea were caught in an unexpected storm and asked for permission to enter Hong Kong Harbor for safety. China denied the request and the ships rode out the storm at sea.

"This is a kind of an unwritten law among seamen that if someone is in need, regardless of genus, phylum or species, you let them come in," he said. "You give them safe harbor. So this is an area that causes us a little more concern. And that is behavior that we do not consider consonant with a nation who advocates a 'peaceful rise' and harmonious relations."

Admiral Keating said he hopes the difficulty with access to Hong Kong Harbor does not continue, and he says U.S. officials will address the issue with their Chinese counterparts. He says he does not want to reduce military cooperation with China, but rather to increase dialogue and joint training in order to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

"We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to work our way around some of these aggravations, if you will," he said. "We hope none of the aggravations are from us. We think they're all from them. As the Olympics loom larger and the summer of 2008 comes upon us, we are hopeful that the behavior of the Chinese will be more like that of other responsible countries."

The admiral reported he hopes to make his second official visit to China in January, during which he said he will discuss the access issue, as well as concerns he has about the expansion of Chinese military capabilities, some of which he says indicate "a little more aggressive strategic goal" than China has publicly stated.

He referred specifically to new weapons, training programs, a naval expansion and improvements in Chinese air-to-air combat skills. The admiral also repeated concerns about potential military applications of China's space program, including its anti-satellite weapon and apparent lack of concern about the space debris the weapon's test caused in January.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news