Washington, Feb. 23 (CNA) The sailing of the American aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk out of its home port of Yokosuka is to carry out a scheduled military drill and has nothing to do with Taiwan's presidential election or Beijing's white paper on the Taiwan issue, the US Defense Department said Wednesday.
The US Defense Department made the remarks in response to Japanese and Taiwanese news media reports that the USS Kitty Hawk left Yokosuka on Wednesday for a two-week experimental voyage and may be dispatched to the waters close to the Taiwan Strait.
A press official with the US Defense Department told CNA that the USS Kitty Hawk will stage routine military exercises in the waters off the Philippines and return to Yokosuka before Taiwan's March 18 presidential election. He said the aircraft carrier would not pass through the Taiwan Strait on its way to the waters near the Philippines.
The Defense Department official also denied the report that the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will reach the waters near the Taiwan Strait by the end of this month, saying that the aircraft carrier is now undergoing a 33-month period of servicing at the port of Newport News in Virginia.
A US Navy official told CNA that the United States has not made any changes to its naval deployments in East Asia following Beijing's announcement on Tuesday of its white paper on the "one China policy and the Taiwan issue" in which it warns Taiwan not to push for independence or indefinitely delay negotiations for peaceful unification at the risk of military invasion.
The official also denied the report that the United States had dispatched additional warships to the waters close to the Taiwan Strait earlier in the month on a mission to help defend Taiwan in the run-up to its presidential election.
Another US official said that at present, the United States has a military force of 100,000 personnel deployed in the Far East as a rule to cope with unexpected situations and to closely watch any signs of action in the region. (By Jay Chen and David Hsu)