No US aircraft carriers had docked in the Chinese Special Administrative Area of Hong Kong in three years, and as recently as last year the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis was denied a request to make a port call in Hong Kong.
The Reagan will stick around for several more days before heading north toward the Korean Peninsula for “scheduled operational training,” the USS Ronald Reagan’s commander said Monday, SCMP reported.
Beijing has reiterated calls for all sides involved in the Korean Peninsula standoff – presumably including North Korea, South Korea, Japan, the US, Russia and China itself – to exhibit caution as Pyongyang may initiate yet another missile test and US President Donald Trump has yet to kick the habit of feigning interest in nuclear war over Twitter.
Rear Adm. Marc Dalton assumed command of Carrier Strike Group Five, which includes the Reagan and is part of the US Navy’s troubled Seventh Fleet, just a few weeks ago on September 18. After a Reuters reporter onboard the USS Reagan reported last Friday that two Chinese frigates had been tailing the Nimitz-class carrier throughout the South China Sea, Dalton said, “We’ve had no issues,” with People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) counterparts.
“They’ve been very professional,” he added, noting, “we see them on a regular basis.”
Chinese military officials were invited to tour the ship after it arrived, according to the South China Morning Post.
The 100,000-ton USS Ronald Reagan carries between 60 and 70 aircraft onboard and conducts at least 80 sorties daily to assert America’s maritime military presence in the western Pacific.