The USS George Washington, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, dropped anchor in Hong Kong Monday with four escort ships, government broadcaster RTHK reported.
The fifth Hong Kong visit by the American behemoth is part of a tour intended to cement relations between the US and countries in Asia Pacific, captain Gregory J. Fenton was quoted as saying.
“Some crew members also want to see the Peak and Hong Kong Disneyland,” he said.
The battle group will take part in a naval drill with China which Fenton described as a good opportunity for both sides to know each other better. The exercises are scheduled for June 26 and Aug. 1.
The carrier has 70 military aircraft and 5,500 personnel. It is 333 meters long, displaces 97,000 tons of water and is powered by two nuclear engines.
The group will be in Hong Kong for five days, during which crew members will attend sports events and community activities. A visit to an elderly home is on the itinerary.
The US consulate in Hong Kong declined to give further details for security reasons. The Chinese government allows American military ships to call at Hong Kong to undergo maintenance checks and give servicemen time for rest and recreation.
Commissioned in 1992, the carrier was named after the first US president. In 2008, it became a forward-deployed carrier at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan.
Meanwhile, commander Mark C. Montgomery has called for a diplomatic solution to territorial issues over the South China Sea.
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