In a sign of a cooldown after the Chinese prohibited a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier from entering the Hong Kong port, the Navy’s 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), arrived in Shanghai, China for a regularly scheduled port visit May 6.
Shanghai is one of several port visits during Blue Ridge’s 7th Fleet 2016 patrol season, which has included India, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Capt. Matt Paradise, Blue Ridge’s commanding officer, said the aim of the visit was to get to know and develop relationships with the People’s Republic of China.
“The more Blue Ridge works with the PLA(N), the better we will get to know each other and that will increase mutual understandings and decrease tensions. In turn we can become better partners,” he said.
Chinese government officials recently denied a U.S. Navy request for the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis to enter the Hong Kong port. Chinese media subsequently reported that the carrier was denied hospitality as a way of protesting of what was termed as “blowhard performance” by the U.S. in the South China Sea.
As for the Blue Ridge team, which consists of more than 900 members, sailors and marines will play basketball with their Chinese counterparts in a friendly inter-navy basketball game. The crew will also have the chance to experience Shanghai through various morale, welfare and recreation tours.
Additionally, U.S. and People’s Republic of China’s Sailors will jointly volunteer their time with a community service project for Shanghai’s School for the Blind.