(CNN)China has denied a U.S. aircraft carrier entry into a Hong Kong port, according to Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban.
“We were recently informed that a request for a port visit by a U.S. carrier strike group, including the USS John C. Stennis and accompanying vessels, to Hong Kong was denied,” he said. “We have a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, including with the current visit of the (command ship) USS Blue Ridge, and we expect that will continue.”
It was not immediately clear why the Stennis was denied port access.
A spokesman for the Hong Kong Security Bureau declined to comment on the decision, saying the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government wouldn’t comment on the individual visit application of foreign warships.
The port access denial comes just two weeks after Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the Stennis while the carrier was operating in the South China Sea. The area is at the center of heightened tensions between the United States and China, with Beijing building and militarizing man-made islands in the contested waters.