A rep for the US Consulate in Hong Kong ended her statement on an optimistic note: "We have a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, and we expect that will continue." But that track record won't involve a port call in October. In her statement, she confirmed that China did not approve a request for the Navy's amphibious assault ship, the USS Wasp, to dock in Hong Kong next month. The AP reports the last time such a denial occurred was 2016, amidst friction over the South China Sea. At the root of the issue is not just tariffs, but Russia: Bloomberg explains that as part of an effort to penalize Russia for election interference, the Trump administration last week sanctioned China's Equipment Development Department and its director over an alleged purchase of Russian aircraft and weaponry.
"This is a tit-for-tat response, as China and Russia are really very annoyed about it," a senior fellow with a Singapore-based institute tells Bloomberg. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, picks up a quote from Maj. Gen. Huang Xueping of the Central Military Commission Office for International Military Cooperation: He described the country's Russia dealings as in compliance with international law and stated "China demands the US side immediately correct its mistake and withdraw the sanctions, and the Chinese military reserves the right to take further countermeasures." Another countermeasure it has already taken: It axed a high-level military meeting with the US, and recalled Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong, who was in the country. (Read more China stories.)