China on Tuesday denied a U.S. Navy request to make scheduled port visits in Hong Kong as massive pro-democracy protests continue to convulse the city.
“The Chinese Government denied requests for port visits to Hong Kong by the USS Green Bay and USS Lake Erie, which were scheduled to arrive in the next few weeks,” said Commander Nate Christensen, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. “The US Navy has a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, and we expect them to continue. We refer you to the Chinese Government for further information about why they denied the request.”
The USS Green Bay was scheduled to stop in Hong Kong on August 17, while the USS Lake Erie was slated for a visit in September.
Hong Kong has been wracked by protests throughout the summer. Protesters were originally angered by a proposed extradition law that they believed threatened the autonomy of the former British colony, but have since expanded their demands and show no signs of slowing down.
Over the weekend, about 5,000 protesters swarmed Hong Kong International Airport, and the chaos at the airport continued Monday and Tuesday, resulting in several violent clashes with police and causing the major travel hub to shut down, canceling all flights.
The U.S. has warned China against using overly violent tactics against the protesters. U.K. foreign minister Dominic Raab said it is “concerning to see what’s happening in Hong Kong and the worrying pictures of clashes between police & protesters at the airport.”
President Trump wrote on Twitter that U.S. intelligence has informed the White House that China is “moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong.”
Trump, whose administration is in delicate negotiations with China to broker a trade deal, said Tuesday that he hopes the turbulent situation “works out for everybody, including China.”
“I hope it works out for liberty,” Trump said. “I hope it works out peacefully. I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope nobody gets killed.”