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US aircraft carrier welcomes PLA aboard, seeks return invite

A pair of US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft prepare to take-off from the flight deck of the USS George Washington some 300kms off the coast of Hong Kong, on June 15, 2014The US Navy on Sunday welcomed four members of China’s military aboard one of its aircraft carriers — and said it hoped to receive a return invite someday. The four People’s Liberation Army members were among guests flown by a C-2 Greyhound aircraft to the USS George Washington for a “VIP visit” before it berths Monday off Hong Kong on a routine call. Tensions are high in the South China Sea and East China Sea as Beijing asserts its sovereignty over reefs and islands also claimed by US allies such as Japan and the Philippines. But Rear Admiral Mark C. Montgomery, commander of the task force headed by the carrier, said US-Chinese military relations have “moderately improved” in the past six months.

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