A naval officer writes:
Wire services and some newspapers have reported that China, at the last possible minute, denied USS Kitty Hawk and her battle group access to Hong Kong for a pre-planned Thanksgiving port visit.
What hasn’t been widely reported yet is that several hundred families of the Kitty Hawk crew, who live here in Yokosuka, Japan, had flown to Hong Kong to spend the holiday with their spouses. I personally know three wives who made the trip, taking their small children with them. Ever spent $2500 on airfare to fly 10 hours round trip by yourself with two kids under age 4, then found out it was for nothing?
PRC’s cancellation of the post visit basically destroyed Thanksgiving for thousands of U.S. military personnel and family members. Apart from actually inflicting casualties, there is not much more China could do to hurt military-to-military relations with the US than a stunt like this…
The latest Financial Times story on the subject notes that on Thursday the Chinese government reversed its decision to bar the Kitty Hawk carrier group from visiting Hong Kong, but did so too late to save the Thanksgiving holiday for 8,000 American sailors and airmen and their families. The Los Angeles Times story finds the Chinese somehow inscrutable. Admiral Keating reduces the range of possible meanings in an interview with the AP: “It’s hard to put any kind of positive spin on this.”
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