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Carrier battle group in naval standoff with China.

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While the U.S. Navy's encounter with five small Iranian boats in the Strait of Hormuz on January 6 resulted in widespread media coverage and aggressive posturing from the Bush administration, a much more serious naval encounter in November in the Taiwan Strait passed unremarked, both by the administration and by the press.

According to the Navy Times, which sourced its information from a Chinese-language daily newspaper in Taiwan, the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and its battle group found themselves in a standoff with a Chinese Navy destroyer and submarine beginning on November 23.

According to the report, the U.S. carrier battle group was returning to its home port in Japan after China suddenly canceled a long-scheduled holiday port call in Hong Kong. Entering the international waters of the Taiwan Strait, the Kitty Hawk and the accompanying ships of her battle group found themselves confronted by the Chinese missile destroyer Shenzhen and a Song-class attack submarine. The Navy Times reported that the encounter caused "the [carrier] group to halt and ready for battle, as the Chinese vessels also stopped amid the 28-hour confrontation."

Unlike the small boats that taunted the U.S. Navy in the Strait of Hormuz, the confrontation with the Chinese vessels was of a potentially severe nature. Though the Chinese warships were outnumbered and outgunned, they nevertheless mount weapons capable of doing severe damage, or even sinking, U.S. ships.

That's not true of the five tiny Iranian boats that harassed three U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. Yet the Iranian encounter was portrayed as a significant international incident, when, by contrast, the more serious incident in the Taiwan Strait was ignored completely.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Inside Track
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Feb 4, 2008
Words:282
Previous Article:Iranians taunt the U.S. Navy.
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