The United States military has spotted a formation of Chinese and Russian warships just off the coast of Alaska, according to reports.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed this week that the ships were sailing approximately 75 nautical miles north of Alaska’s Kiska Island on September 19.
The Coast Guard ship was on a routine patrol in the Bering Sea when its Cutter Kimball crew came across a Chinese PLA Navy guided missile cruiser.
However, the crew was alarmed after soon discovering that the PLA cruiser was accompanied by two additional Chinese military ships and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer.
The Chinese-Russian patrol group was described as being “in single formation”.
In releasing a photo of the encounter, the Coast Guard stated, “The Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew on a routine patrol in the Bering Sea encountered a People’s Republic of China Guided Missile Cruiser, Renhai CG 101, sailing approximately 75 nautical miles north of Kiska Island, Alaska, September 19, 2022.”
The Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew on a routine patrol in the Bering Sea encountered a People’s Republic of China Guided Missile Cruiser, Renhai CG 101, sailing approximately 75 nautical miles north of Kiska Island, Alaska, September 19, 2022. https://t.co/jInFcIblUq pic.twitter.com/Ax0pcte54h
— CoastGuardNews (@CoastGuardNews) September 27, 2022
According to more details by the Coast Guard and additional reporting in the Associated Press:
The Honolulu-based Kimball, a 418-foot vessel, observed as the ships broke formation and dispersed.
A C-130 Hercules provided air support for the Kimball from the Coast Guard station in Kodiak.
“While the formation has operated in accordance with international rules and norms, we will meet presence with presence to ensure there are no disruptions to U.S. interests in the maritime environment around Alaska,” 17th Coast Guard District commander Rear Adm. Nathan Moore said in a statement.
The reference to the “presence with presence” patrol strategy is a method of dissuading such enemy foreign vessels from coming near US waters by maintaining frequent naval and coast guard patrol activity.
This latest sighting follows a similar incident from last year.
In September 2021 Chinese ships were spotted by Coast Guard observers 50 miles off the Aleutian Islands.
The Chinese and Russian navies have also been ramping up coordinated activity in the Sea of Japan and near Japanese islands, which Tokyo has protested as an unwarranted intrusion.