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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

U.S. Navy gives China the middle finger

Recently the Chinese government refused to allow a U.S. warship to dock in Hong Kong. The USS Kitty Hawk has in past years docked in Hong Kong for Thanksgiving, giving it's crew a chance to meet with family who fly in for the occasion. Rather than argue over the matter the carrier battle group returned to Japan, taking a somewhat controversial route.

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. (source)

As far as I can tell that article is in error on it being six carriers. Only the one carrier battle group was involved. Another article has more on the matter.

"USS Kitty Hawk carrier strike group has transited the Taiwan Strait," Navy spokesman Shane Tuck said. "This was a normal navigational transit of international waters, and the route selection was based on operational necessity, including adverse weather."

While some are downplaying the chosen route, it is a contentious area and has been for some time.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since their split in 1949 when Mao Zedong's Communists drove Chiang Kai-shek's defeated Nationalists to the island.

Tensions between the two countries have played out in the strait several times since then, most recently when China conducted military exercises there in 1995 and 1996, prompting the United States to send warships there.

Diplomats are doing their diplomacy thing, though the Chinese seemed to have missed that bulletin.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has told President George W. Bush that the incident is a misunderstanding, according to the White House, but a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman denied that account on Thursday. (source)

I prefer to think that someone in the Navy or the administration decided to give the Chinese government the bird. After all, it's not as if President Bush has never ever ever done something like that before.


Michael Turton has in depth posts on this matter and the deeper issues at his blog. He provided the links via commenting here, so I thought would bring them up front for everyone.

Le Roi Soleil as a Responsible Regional Player: L'Affaire Kitty Hawk
More on the Kitty Hawk

Check out his blog, The View from Taiwan for more on the region.


Filed under: News

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