Chinese military ships spotted near Aleutian Islands in Alaska

Late last week, Chinese naval vessels were spotted in the US exclusive economic zone in the Bering Sea by a cutter during a routine patrol, the US Coast Guard said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Kimball sighted three vessels about 124 miles north of Amchitka Pass, a strait in the Aleutian Islands, a remote archipelago extending 1,200 miles from the Alaska Peninsula.

A Coast Guard aircraft crew stationed on Kodiak Island spotted a fourth Chinese vessel 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of the Amukta Pass, which lies between the islands of Amutka and Seguam.

The Chinese vessels were in international waters but within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the U.S. coastline, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The Coast Guard said both it and the U.S. Northern Command were “fully aware” of the Chinese vessels’ progress.

“The Kimball was patrolling under Operation Frontier Sentinel, a Coast Guard operation designed to match presence with presence when strategic competitors operate in and around U.S. waters,” the statement said.

“The Chinese naval presence operated in accordance with international rules and norms,” ​​said Rear Adm. Megan Dean, commander of the 17th Coast Guard District. “We met presence with presence to ensure there were no disruptions to U.S. interests in the maritime environment around Alaska.”

The Chinese ships told the Coast Guard their mission was “freedom of navigation operations.” The Kimball monitored the ships until they headed south into the North Pacific. The Kimball continues to monitor the area.

According to the Coast Guard, its cutters spotted Chinese military vessels in the Bering Sea in 2021 and 2022.

China has not yet publicly responded to the US Coast Guard statement.

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