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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

US aircraft carrier in Hong Kong amid tension

February 18, 2010

AFP
February 17, 2010

A US aircraft carrier arrived in Hong Kong
Wednesday amid heightened tension between
Washington and Beijing over arms sales to Taiwan
and President Barack Obama's plan to meet the Dalai Lama.

The stop by the USS Nimitz, one of the world's
largest warships, came only weeks after China
said it would suspend military and security
contacts with the United States over Washington's
6.4-billion-dollar arms package for Taipei.

It also coincides with a trip to Washington by
exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
for a long-awaited meeting with Obama, a visit that has infuriated Beijing.

Rear Admiral John Miller, commander of the
carrier, said China and the United States could
work together on areas such as maritime security
even if they did not agree on other issues.

"There are a lot of areas where nations that
don't always agree on a variety of issues can
find agreements," he told a press conference held on the ship.

"To ensure stability in the maritime environment,
any nation can be part of that."

Asked about the significance of the port call
amid simmering Sino-China tension, Miller said:
"For us, this is a routine port visit. I don't
know (if) this is any different from any other visit we have made."

More than 5,000 sailors from the carrier and its
accompanying fleet will be sent ashore for
sightseeing and community service projects during
the four-day visit, the statement said.

The US State Department said last week the visit
would boost ties between the people and militaries of the two countries.

"We think it is an important part of not only our
outreach and engagement with the Chinese people
but an important dimension of our
military-to-military relationship," department
spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters in Washington.

Beijing has said the arms package for Taiwan
violates a US pledge to reduce weapons sales to
the island, which China considers part of its territory awaiting reunification.
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