USS Kitty Hawk carrier denied access to Hong Kong

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WASHINGTON, Nov 22 (Reuters) China has unexpectedly denied the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier and its accompanying ships entry to Hong Kong port for a long-planned Thanksgiving holiday visit, the US State Department said.

''At present, it appears the USS Kitty Hawk strike group will not be making a port call in Hong Kong as previously planned as a result of a last minute denial by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,'' State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson said.

China gave no reason was for the denial, Thompson said.

The United States is pressing Chinese authorities for an explanation and to reconsider its decision, she added.

The Financial Times newspaper said the Kitty Hawk group and its crew of 8,000 US airmen and sailors had been expected in Hong Kong Yesterday, but now would spend the holiday on the South China Sea.

A US Navy spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

REUTERS SZ RK1050

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