That sneaky Blue Ridge
As reported by the South China Morning Post, the Chinese government allows port calls by foreign military ships on a “case by case basis in accordance with sovereignty principles and specific circumstances” and in the case of the USS Stennis Carrier Strike Group, recently steaming in the South China Sea off the Philippines and disputed Chinese atolls, the answer is no.
Of course this type of stuff has been going on for some time with Hong Kong as reported by USNI with the minesweepers USS Patriot (MCM-7) and USS Guardian (MCM-5) denied access to sheltered waters and fuel before a major storm, the Kitty Hawk strike group was denied entry into the port back in 2007 although hundreds of family members had already flown there to meet their bluejackets and other incidents.
Still, even with Stennis barred, U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Hong Kong on April 29 with a Marine FAST team and fleet staff aboard for a port visit during her 2016 patrol season.
From the Navy’s presser:
During the visit, Blue Ridge Sailors volunteered in the local community through two community service projects and various band performances.
Blue Ridge‘s Morale, Welfare and Recreation committee also organized other tours providing Sailors and Marines a chance to experience the history and culture of Hong Kong more intimately.
“These tours offer Sailors a chance to see and discover aspects of the local history that they might not have found on their own,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Anika Miller, Blue Ridge MWR coordinator.
Such dastardly deeds.