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U.S. Carrier Near Taiwan as Election Nears

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on March 20, 2008

For a ship that’s about to get mothballed, the USS Kitty Hawk sure has a way of getting attention. Recall back in November, the Chinese government suddenly refused permission for the aircraft carrier (which the Navy is taking out of service later this year) to make a long-scheduled port visit in Hong Kong, ruining Thanksgiving for thousands of sailors and their families and creating a mini-incident between Washington and Beijing. More recently, the Kitty Hawk was a pawn in haggling between the governments of India and Russia, with New Delhi officials upset about Moscow’s foot-dragging on the delivery of an aircraft carrier whispering that India was planning on doing a deal with the Americans to take the Kitty Hawk instead.

Now the Kitty Hawk is back in the news. With the Taiwanese presidential election only days away and the Chinese government watching very carefully, Reuters is reporting that the Navy has sent the ship to waters off the eastern coast of Taiwan. Just in case. “We feel we are responsibly positioned at this time, “the defense official told Reuters, saying the two carriers were not near enough to the island to provoke China but would be able to “respond if there’s a provocative situation.”

Nobody should make a big deal of this. The Americans have done this in the past before Taiwanese elections. And in the ’90s, when the Chinese were angry with then-president Lee Teng-hui and tensions heated up between the two sides, the Kitty Hawk sailed through the Taiwan Strait. The fact that the Kitty Hawk is off the east coast of the island (i.e. farther away from China) rather than the west, is a sign that the U.S. doesn’t want Beijing to see this as a provocation.

One thing’s for sure. This is the last we’ll be hearing about the Kitty Hawk. Post-election, it’s going to sail away from Taiwan and to the U.S. for decommissioning.

* Photo: Getty Images

Reader Comments


March 20, 2008 11:12 AM

Bruce Einhorn,

Are Chinese scared of that? Chinese will not give up the sovereignty for any reasons.

Look at what happened in Iraq. You Americans has been there for so many years, but everything is still a mess even after millions of civilians were killed by the war that was started by US. Good thing is that it costed US tax payers US$500 billion already, Do you see the end of the mess there? That's a small country of around 20 million population without any industry.

Do you remember how many ACs US deployed for that war against Iraqis? 6 or 7?

You need to look back to Korean war and Vietnem war. Both China got invoved and sent army to defend our neighbours. Isn't Taiwan more important to China? Isn't China much stronger than 1950s and 1970s? Use your brain. China has been getting stronger under threats from western countries. But China never lose. I think the history will teach you something and some hawkish Americans.

One thing is for sure. If US went to war with China, US would be 2rd -level country in this world, China would still be a 3rd world.

Billy Tsai

April 4, 2008 12:13 AM

Taiwan is an independent country which has its own president, government, consitution and military etc.....
therefor Taiwan is not part of China. Taiwan is a free democratic nation while China is a communist dictatorship


September 9, 2008 12:12 AM

Taiwan is an independent country helped by US. pls support taiwan and support US. tnx


September 9, 2008 1:16 PM

@Billy Tsai and Jo: Taiwan is NOT an independent country, it is a province of China. 1. In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek retreated to Taiwan, he did not enter a foreign (or independent)country, he retreated to a province where the Communists were not able to pursue. 2. Koxinga (Anglicized name) fought the Dutch to reclaim territory for China, not invading an independent country. 3. Qing dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan after the first Sino-Japanese War, China could not ceded the island to Japan if it was not theirs. 4. After WWII, Japan returned Taiwan to China in 1945, therefore, Taiwan belongs to China. For the last three thousand years, China has many periods that were not unified, e.g. the warring states, Spring and Autumn, the Three Kingdoms, Sung dynasties (north and south), North/South Dynasties, even today's 'Communist/Nationalist' China. All these separate entities are part of China and Chinese history. Can you deny that the Confederates were not Americans, what about Scotland, Wales and North Ireland, are they not UK? Please study your history.


November 5, 2009 5:13 PM

The truth is that the Chinese do not have sovereignty over Taiwan. China's official government, the PRC, has never ruled Taiwan. The PRC even denies the existence of the ROC. PRC never ruled Taiwan + PRC denied the existence of the ROC = no Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. This is why Taiwan for the last 60 years can conduct its own "affrairs" without any interventions from Beijing. I don't know if the Chinese are scared about American aircraft carriers. But, I know for sure that there is nothing the PLA can do about it. Since your last comment, Iraq has a new chapter in its history. I am confident that in a few decades your comment about Americans' involvement Iraq will sound really stupid. I hope BusinessWeek would make our comments available on-line forever so we can see who is right and wrong.

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