Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The Ronald Reagan carrier strike group is visiting Hong Kong in a port visit that has become less routine in recent years due to tensions with China over militarization of the South China Sea,
The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Chancellorsville and Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Curtis D. Wilbur anchored in port Wednesday.
"Hong Kong is always an incredible port visit and I'm glad that the officers and Sailors of Carrier Strike Group 5 will have the chance to enjoy the culture, vitality and diversity of this great city," Carrier Strike Group 5 commander Rear Adm. Karl O. Thomas said in a press release.
"The abundant growth and prosperity that surrounds us in Hong Kong is what the United States Seventh Fleet seeks to preserve for all nations in this important region," Thomas said. Sailors will be allowed to explore Hong Kong and participate in sporting events, community relations projects and tours, according to the Navy.
The USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group is attached to the 7th Fleet in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. It is a Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a wing of 70 or more planes, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
U.S. Navy ships and sailors have visited Hong Kong for decades. The USS Ronald Reagan last visited Hong Kong in October 2017. The Chancellorsville and Curtis D. Wilbur form the carriers surface combatant escorts along with support ships and usually a fast-attack submarine, though the Navy does not typically reveal the locations of deployed submarines.