China bars US warships from making port call in Hong Kong as tensions mount amid continued protests

USS Lake ErieUSS Lake ErieUS. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Abrams

  • China is refusing to allow two US Navy warships to make a port call in Hong Kong amid continued pro-democracy demonstrations in the city.
  • Beijing has blamed the US, at least in part, for the protests and has warned the US against playing "dangerous games."
  • The Chinese government has rejected US Navy port calls in the past, most recently in September 2018, when the USS Wasp was denied access to the city.
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China has cancelled upcoming port visits to Hong Kong by two US Navy warships amid continued protests and rising tensions.

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay was set to visit Hong Kong on August 17, and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Lake Erie was expected to arrive next month.

The Chinese government has, however, decided to deny these requests, the US Pacific Fleet told INSIDER in a statement Tuesday.

"The US Navy has a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, and we expect them to continue," PACFLEET said.

Protests have been going on in Hong Kong for months as more and more people fill the streets to demand democracy and increased autonomy from China.

Riot police fire tear gas during the anti-extradition bill protest in Hong Kong, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019.Riot police fire tear gas during the anti-extradition bill protest in Hong Kong, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019.AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Clashes between protesters and police are becoming more common. While the Chinese government has yet to signal plans to directly intervene, Chinese state media has been releasing videos of Chinese paramilitary forces gathering in nearby Shenzhen.

Read more: Beijing condemns 'radical Hong Kong protesters' as state media releases videos of armed police and armored vehicles assembling nearby

The Chinese government has blamed the US, at least in part, for the increasingly-violent pro-democracy protests.

"As you all know, they are somehow the work of the US," Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in late July.

"The Chinese government will never allow any foreign forces to have a hand in Hong Kong affairs. Neither will we allow them to mess up Hong Kong," she warned, adding that "those who play fire will only get themselves burned."

"We advise the US to immediately stop playing this dangerous game," the spokeswoman stressed.

Read more: China blocks US Navy warship's entry to Hong Kong port as ties between Washington and Beijing circle the drain

This is not the first time China has denied planned US port calls to Hong Kong. Last September, the Chinese government refused to let the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp make port amid serious economic, geopolitical, and military disputes between China and the US.

The USS John C. Stennis was denied access to Hong Kong's port in April 2016.

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