Chinese marines visit the USS Lake Erie at the Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the US, September 6, 2013. A naval fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which is comprised of the missile destroyer Qingdao, missile frigate Linyi and supply ship Hongzehu, arrived at the Pearl Harbor to start a three-day friendly visit, after which it will participate in a search-and-rescue exercise with the U.S. Navy. Photo: Xinhua

The US’ request to have its navy warships visit Hong Kong amid protests there is inappropriate and could have ulterior motives, Chinese experts said on Wednesday as China has reportedly turned the request down.

US Navy’s transport dock ship Green Bay and guided missile cruiser Lake Erie requested port 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, the deputy spokesman for the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet.

This is not the first time China has denied a visit by a US warship to Hong Kong. In September 2018, China decline a port visit for US amphibious assault ship Wasp.

Yang Yujun, dean of the Academy of Media and Public Affairs at Communication University of China and a former Defense Ministry spokesperson, told the Global Times on Wednesday that 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 

“The security situation in Hong Kong is very severe, and the US government had just issued a travel warning to US citizens. At this timing, the US’ request to have warships stop by in Hong Kong is contradictory to the warning and very inappropriate,” Yang said.

“We can clearly 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,” Yang noted.

The US on August 7 issued an advisory warning people about traveling to Hong Kong due to “confrontational” protests there, the New York Times previously reported.

Li Haidong, a professor with the China Foreign Affairs University’s Institute of International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the US is attempting to pour oil on the fire.

“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 pointed out.

Christensen of the US Navy Pacific Fleet said “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 have only occurred under normal situations, which obviously is not the case right now, Li said. 

By turning the US request down, China is sending a clear signal telling the US that it is too deeply involved in the chaotic situation in Hong Kong, and it should stop interfering in China’s internal affairs before the China-US relations suffer an even more serious and irreversible blow, Li said.

The protest in Hong Kong has entered its tenth week.

Julie Eadeh, political unit chief of the US consulate general in Hong Kong, met with Joshua Wong, who frequently collude with overseas anti-China forces to smear the image of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on August 6 and discussed issues such as banning US exports of equipment to Hong Kong police, Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Office of the State Council, identified the turmoil in Hong Kong as “color revolution” on August 7.