The USS Abraham Lincoln Battle Group's visit to Hong Kong has nothing to do with the cross-strait situation, and is merely to allow the group's sailors to spend their Christmas vacation in the harbor city, a US navy commander said yesterday.
China's Xinhua News Agency yesterday reported that the USS Abraham Lincoln Battle Group arrived in the port of Hong Kong yesterday.
The group's plan to stay in Hong Kong for three or four days is simply to give sailors a chance to visit the city, as many of the US service members have never visited the former British colony.
Also, Hong Kong is one of the best harbors in the Pacific, Rear Admiral Doug Crowder, chief commander of the group, was quoted by the Chinese agencies as saying.
Asked which harbor is the group's next destination, Crowder declined to comment based on security concerns.
According to the aircraft carrier's spokesman, the USS Abraham Lincoln battle group, including the aircraft carrier itself, as well as three escort ships, will stay in Hong Kong for three to four days.
Local weather conditions will be the deciding factor for when the four vessels decide to leave.
The battle group has a total of 6,500 sailors and it was the first time for most of them to visit Hong Kong.
The USS Abraham Lincoln is US' fifth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
The Abraham Lincoln's keel was laid on Nov. 3, 1984 in Newport News, Virginia. Four years later the ship was christened and began a series of performance trials leading up to commissioning in Norfolk, Virginia on Nov. 11, 1989.