US Ship Makes Hong Kong Port of Call Amid Tensions

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United States' aircraft carrier USS George Washington makes a port of call in Hong Kong, amid the South China Sea disputes, and Chinese military build-up in the resource-rich area. Recently, the Philippine president announced that he might ask for US assistance in the dispute. Let's see what the captain has to say.

The U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS George Washington arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday (July 10) for a routine port visit. It had just finished joint exercises with the Japanese and South Korean navies.

The visit comes as a critical test for Washington's expansion into the Asia Pacific. The Chinese regime is also strengthening its economic and military clout in its own backyard.

Washington's recent flurry of engagement with Southeast Asian countries - from the Philippines and Thailand to Singapore and Vietnam - is a potential source of friction with the Chinese regime. Tempers are flaring over territorial disputes over the resource-rich South China Sea.

This week China appointed a famously hawkish senior commander as the political commissar of the Chinese Navy’s South Sea fleet. Beijing authorities reiterated they would protect what they consider their territorial rights.

But the George Washington's commanding officer, David Lausman, said joint exercises were vital in trying to contain misunderstandings in the region.

[Captain David Lausman, Commanding Officer of USS George Washington]:
"Yes, we did an exercise together with the navies of Japan and the Republic of Korea and it was very exciting. That's really the kind of thing we like to do throughout our patrol no matter where we go we love to work with the navies of all the Western Pacific countries in international waters. Working together, working on inter-operability, getting to understand each other. The more we understand each other, the less chance there's going to be miscalculation or misunderstanding that might lead to tensions."

Chinese authorities have territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan across the South China Sea. Each country is searching for gas and oil while building up their navies and military alliances.

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