Tags: John McCain | Pentagon | China | carrier visit | Anthem | hacking

WaPo: McCain Urges US to Scuttle Aircraft Carrier Visit to China

WaPo: McCain Urges US to Scuttle Aircraft Carrier Visit to China
(Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

Friday, 06 February 2015 11:22 AM

Arizona Sen. John McCain has demanded that the Pentagon pull the plug on a plan for a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to visit a port in China, according to The Washington Post.

In the midst of accusations that China is behind a hack attack on U.S. health insurance giant Anthem, the GOP senator sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work urging them to reject China's invitation to have a Nimitz-class vessel make a historic port of call.

Describing the carriers as "one of the most sophisticated and lethal military tools in world history," McCain, the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said it would be a huge mistake by the U.S. to make such a symbolic gesture.

"Sending such a platform to China would be seen as an international display of respect to China and its Navy, despite Beijing's recent record of aggressive behavior in the East and South China Seas," McCain wrote.

"I believe it would also send the wrong signal to allies and partners throughout the region, including Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, who are looking to the United States for leadership in the face of China's continued use of coercion to pursue its territorial claims."

In recent years, the Pentagon has been hoping to have closer military ties with China, including military exchanges, multilateral exercises and visits by senior military leaders, even though both countries have recently stepped up their presence in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Post.

China's naval chief Adm. Wu Shengli is said to have suggested last year to his American counterpart, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, that the Defense Department might consider sending a U.S. carrier on a port visit. The Pentagon has been studying the idea ever since, although no final decision has been reached.

According to the newspaper, China is hoping to develop its own fleet of carriers. Its first ship, the Liaoning, recently had a successful trial at sea, while the country's PLA-Navy is currently building a second.

The visit by a U.S. carrier could be seen as a reciprocal arrangement because Hagel toured the Liaoning last April, the Post noted.

On Friday, China rejected accusations it was behind a hacking attack that saw data on up to 80 million customers stolen from Anthem as "groundless."

The Bloomberg News agency cited three people with knowledge of Anthem's investigation as saying cybersleuths believed the breach bore the hallmarks of previous attacks blamed on Chinese hackers.

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Sen. John McCain has demanded that the Pentagon pull the plug on a plan for a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to visit a port in China, according to The Washington Post.
Pentagon, China, carrier visit, Anthem, hacking
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2015-22-06
Friday, 06 February 2015 11:22 AM
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