US Navy transport dock ship Green Bay and guided missile cruiser Lake Erie requested visits to Hong Kong in the next few weeks, but China has rejected the request, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing a statement by Nate Christensen, deputy spokesman for the US Navy's Pacific Fleet.
This is not the first time China has denied a visit by a US ship to Hong Kong. In September 2018, China declined a port visit for the amphibious assault ship Wasp.
It is within China's scope of sovereignty to approve a US warship's request to visit Hong Kong, just as the US needs to approve visits by Chinese naval vessels to Hawaii, said Yang Yujun, a former Defense Ministry spokesperson and dean of the academy of media and public affairs at Communication University of China in Beijing.
"The security situation in Hong Kong is very severe and the US government had just issued a travel warning to US citizens," Yang told the Global Times on Wednesday.
"At this time, the US request to have warships stop by in Hong Kong is contradictory to the warning and very inappropriate," Yang said.
Yang noted that it was clear to see "the role the US has been playing in the turmoil in Hong Kong. We are highly suspicious of US motives, now that it still expects to have warships visit Hong Kong."
The US issued an advisory August 7 warning about travel to Hong Kong due to "confrontational" protests, the New York Times previously reported.
The US was attempting to pour oil on the fire, believed Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's institute of international relations in Beijing.
"The US knows perfectly well what is happening, but still tries to send warships to Hong Kong to back up the creators of chaos," Li told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Christensen of the US Navy Pacific Fleet said that "the US Navy has a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong and we expect them to continue," CNN reported.
But those visits "only occurred under normal situations, which obviously is not the case right now," Li said.
By turning down the US request, China is sending a "clear signal" that the US is too deeply involved in the chaotic situation in Hong Kong, Li said.
He stressed that Washington "should stop interfering in China's internal affairs before China-US relations suffer an even more serious and irreversible blow."
The protest in Hong Kong has entered its tenth week.
On August 7, Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Office of the State Council, identified the turmoil in Hong Kong as a potential "color revolution."
On August 6, Julie Eadeh, political unit chief of the US consulate general in Hong Kong, met Joshua Wong, an activist accused of colluding with overseas anti-China forces to smear the image of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Wong discussed issues such as the banning of US exports of equipment to the Hong Kong police, Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported.
This article was originally published in Global Times.