China nixes United States warship port visit, recalls admiral from US

The USS Wasp with a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft flying nearby off Okinawa in March. The New York Times

The USS Wasp with a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft flying nearby off Okinawa in March. The New York Times

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in Beijing that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan were a serious breach of global law and harmed Chinese sovereignty and security interests.

The Chinese government has denied a request by the United States for a U.S. Navy warship to visit Hong Kong for a port call, the U.S. consulate in the city said on Tuesday.

The rejection of the ship's port call request comes as the USA and China quarrel over trade and sanctions, as well as longstanding issues like the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, and Taiwan.

The move also follows the USA approval of a possible $330 million package for Taiwan comprising military aviation replacement parts. The Chinese foreign ministry warned of "severe damage" to bilateral relations if the sale announced Monday goes through.

Beijing sees Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting unification, and is deeply suspicious of the island's relations with the US.

The decision comes at a time of heightened U.S.

Wang Shouwen, China's vice-minister of commerce, expressed hope that there remained a "way out" of the dispute, but said yesterday: "Now that the United States has adopted such a huge trade restriction measure. how can the negotiations proceed?" The cancellations followed the Trump administration's decision to move ahead with a new round of tariffs on some $200 billion in Chinese goods and to impose sanctions on the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Equipment Development Department (EDD) under the requirements of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

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Military ties between Washington and Beijing have been relatively stable in recent years, even as the US complained of China militarizing reefs and islands in the South China Sea amid overlapping territorial claims by other Asian nations.

Tensions, however, extend well beyond economic exchanges and into military ties.

Last Thursday, the US State Department imposed sanctions on China's Equipment Development Department. after it engaged in "significant transactions" with Rosoboronexport, Russia's main arms exporter.

"We believe that we do have to have a relationship with China and Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo and I are of one mind on this", Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

They were placed on the Chinese military's Equipment Development Department for purchasing S-400 anti-aircraft missiles and Su-35 combat aircraft from Russian Federation.

"Otherwise the U.S. has to bear the consequences of it".

In 2016, at a time of heightened tension over its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, China denied a request for a USA carrier strike group led by the John C. Stennis to visit Hong Kong.

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