U.S. Making A Statement? U.S. Won’t Send Aircraft Carrier To China This Year

The Pentagon announced Friday it wouldn’t send an aircraft carrier to visit China this year.  It is a move intended to persuade China to seek diplomatic solutions to territorial disputes, a U.S. official said.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said U.S. and Chinese officials met Thursday to discuss military exchanges over the coming year to build on previous efforts.  However, he said the U.S. has ruled out a visit to China by a U.S. carrier.

Officials had earlier proposed the U.S. send an aircraft carrier to visit China as part of the effort to expand defense ties between the two countries, but Pentagon officials last week deferred a decision on the carrier visit while awaiting progress in U.S.-China talks on other agreements, including one to reduce the risk of midair collisions between military aircraft.

A defense official said the Pentagon had decided against such a visit because of concerns with China’s actions in the Pacific. Tensions in the region have increased in recent years as Chinese ships and planes have repeatedly confronted vessels from neighboring countries in disputed areas of the South China Sea and in the East China Sea.