U.S. Warships Arrive in Shanghai With AM-China, Bjt
BEIJING (AP) _ As pro-democracy demonstrations rocked China, three U.S. warships arrived Friday in Shanghai for only the second U.S. Navy port call since the communist government was founded in 1949.
The goodwill visit came one day after Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev visited Shanghai.
The warships originally were scheduled to arrive Thursday but were delayed for one day. Although no official explanation was given for the delay, the Soviets apparently saw the coincidence of the port call with Gorbachev’s visit as a diplomatic affront.
The three U.S. vessels sailed up the Huangpu River, common waters for foreign warships at the turn of the century when foreign powers dominated Shanghai with gunboat diplomacy. Decorative flags dotted the masts and sailors lined the rails for a look at China’s largest city.
More than 200,000 students and workers marched and rallied through the city of 12 million Friday for the second straight day in support of larger, related protests in Beijing. About 100,000 were gathered a short distance down the Huangpu River from where the American vessels docked.
Barry Matney, a press officer for the Seventh Fleet, said the command and control ship USS Blueridge, the cruiser USS Sterett and the guided missile frigate USS Rodney M. Davis will be in Shanghai until Monday.
He said the 2,500 naval personnel aboard the ships had been advised to avoid the demonstrations but were to be granted liberty to visit the city as scheduled. He said they were to be in uniform when touring the city.
He said not many people watched the arrival because most people were more interested in the demonstrations.
The first U.S. Navy port call to communist China was in November 1986, when three warships visited the Yellow Sea port of Qingdao. Last month a Chinese Navy training vessel visited Honolulu in communist China’s first port call in the United States.