A U.S. aircraft carrier is to make a port call in Hong Kong this week, ahead of joint drills on the Korean peninsula.
The USS Ronald Reagan, the biggest U.S. warship based in Asia, will be allowed to dock in China’s special administrative region as tensions have not receded since a series of North Korea provocations culminated in a fresh round of international sanctions, the South China Morning Post reported Sunday.
Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, commander of the Reagan’s strike group, said he has “no issues” with Chinese naval escorts accompanying the supercarrier to port.
Dalton also said, “The United States has been very clear about leveraging all options in order to get North Korea to change its path.”
The USS Ronald Reagan will be the first U.S. carrier visit to Hong Kong in two years.
In April 2016, China denied entry to the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.
Beijing had denied entry as tensions mounted between the United States and China, after then-Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter was visiting the Stennis, while it was stationed in the South China Sea.
Around Oct. 15, the USS Reagan is to take part in exercises with the South Korean navy, according to Yonhap.
China and the United States may have increased cooperation on North Korea, and Beijing recently announced tough sanctions against North Korean joint-venture operations.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday the United States has “lines of communications to Pyongyang.”
“We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout,” Tillerson said. “We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang.”
By Elizabeth Shim