A senior member of the US House of Representatives is calling on the US Department of Defense to consider allowing US aircraft carriers to visit Taiwan.
The call comes in the wake of China’s decision last week to deny the USS John C. Stennis a long-scheduled stop in Hong Kong.
“China has repeatedly politicized the long-standing use of Hong Kong for carrier port visits, inconveniencing the families of thousands of US sailors, and continuing a pattern of unnecessary and disruptive behavior,” House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman Randy Forbes said.
“As Beijing’s direct control of Hong Kong intensifies, the US Navy should strongly consider shifting its carrier port calls to more stable and welcoming locations,” Forbes said in a statement issued by his office.
“While China finds profit in needlessly harming our sailors’ families, many US allies and partners in the region, including Taiwan, would no doubt welcome our carriers and their crews with open arms. The time has come to consider these alternative locations going forward,” the statement said.
China denied permission for the USS Kitty Hawk to visit Hong Kong following a dispute over arms sale to Taiwan in 2007.
The White House on Monday said that the latest denial of entry to Hong Kong did not seem to signal a major change in Beijing’s policy.
“But I can’t speak to what the Chinese government may have had in mind by denying this request,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
The development comes at a time of rising tensions in the region as China appears to be increasing its military control of much of the South China Sea.
Last month, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited the John C. Stennis as it sailed through the South China Sea at least in part as a US demonstration of international freedom of navigation rights.
“We want to reduce tensions, but we also want everybody in the region to be able to rise and develop it their own way,” Carter said on the deck of the carrier. “The only reason that question even comes up is because of what has gone on over the last year and that’s a question of Chinese behavior.”
“So, what’s new is not an American carrier in the region. What’s new is the context of tension which exists, which we want to reduce,” Carter said.
Some Pentagon sources believe that Beijing’s decision to deny the John C. Stennis permission to visit Hong Kong was directly related to it sailing through the South China Sea and Carter’s visit to the ship, which drew international attention.
The Taipei Times was unable to get any formal reaction on Monday night to Forbes’ suggestion that US aircraft carriers visit Taiwan. The White House and Pentagon did not return telephone calls on the subject.
Under the complex diplomatic rules that govern US-Taiwan relations, US Navy ships do not make official visits to Taiwan.
A visit by a US aircraft carrier would be certain to cause a huge protest by Beijing.
A Pentagon source told the Taipei Times that he thought it “highly unlikely” that US President Barack Obama would sanction such a visit.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up