From the New York Times:
Five American warships docked for a port call in Hong Kong on Wednesday in a sign that recent tensions between China and the U.S. may be easing after flare-ups over an arms sale to Taiwan and the Dalai Lama.
Carrying some 5,000 sailors, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and four other ships arrived in Hong Kong waters for a four-day rest stop after spending five months in the North Arabian Sea as a base for air combat missions in Afghanistan, the USS Nimitz public affairs office said in a statement.
Political analysts see Beijing’s approval of the port call as an indication that the Chinese government doesn’t want to let Sino-U.S. relations deteriorate further, hampering cooperation on the global economy and other issues… China blocked a long-scheduled port call by the USS Kitty Hawk in November 2007 at the last minute… Yet Beijing has allowed the USS Nimitz carrier strike group to stop in Hong Kong — despite a threat to suspend military-to-military exchanges after the Taiwan arms sale. It also hasn’t followed through on another threat to retaliate against U.S. companies involved in the sale.