Earlier this week, the United States Navy spotted four Chinese military ships near an Alaska island, extremely close to US waters. The ships were photographed in the Bering Sea during surveillance operations. Despite their close proximity, it was reported that they remained 46 miles away from the Alaskan coast, which is still international waters.
A similar incident occurred in earlier September, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Chinese state-run publication The Global Times reported that US ships have been seen near Chinese waters “in the name of freedom of navigation.” Beijing military expert Wei Dongxu said the warships were “a countermeasure and a signal against the US actions of hegemony.”
This time, the ships seen were listed as a guided-missile cruiser, guided-missile destroyer, general intelligence vessel, and an auxiliary vessel.
A new nuclear submarine naval alliance (called AUKUS) has been formed between America, Australia, and Britain. The intent appears to be giving the countries involved the ability to combat China, which is growing more and more aggressive in the South China Sea. This area houses many trade routes for the three countries.
The alliance appears to be what led China to push the boundaries with American waters and threaten to continue that push near other US territories.
The US Coast Guard sent ships out and communicated with China’s ships and reported that the vessels were “safe and professional, and verbal communications were in accordance with international standards outlined in the Western Pacific Naval Symposium’s Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.”
The Global Times made comments threatening to send warships “near” Hawaii one day “soon.” Editor-in-chief Hu Xijin said vie tweet, “Hopefully, when Chinese warships pass through the Caribbean Sea or show up near Hawaii and Guam one day, the US will uphold the same standard of freedom of navigation. That day will come soon.”
— Navy Chief of Information (@chinfo) September 8, 2021
The US Navy Chief of Information Twitter account replied to Xijin’s posts, saying, “The US Navy has upheld the standards of freedom of navigation longer than the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] navy has existed.”
Under AUKUS, the three countries will share “military technologies such as artificial intelligence, cyber defense, quantum computing, and long-range strike capabilities.” Additionally, Australia will receive assistance in building its first-ever nuclear submarine fleet, including at least eight vessels.
After the alliance was formed, Beijing denounced the involved countries’ “Cold War mentality.”
In other tweets, the Navy Chief of Information said, “The US Navy sails around the world in accordance with international law. All countries benefit from freedom of navigation in accordance with international law. Unfortunately, not all who benefit from freedom of navigation would extend that same freedom to others.”
The Global Times also reported that the original report of the warships near Alaska was deleted. However, the article also said, “If the report is true, activities by Chinese warships are likely a normal far-sea training amid the PLA Navy’s rapid development of such capabilities, Chinese analysts said on Monday, noting that this could also be seen as a countermeasure against US military provocations on China’s doorsteps in the name of freedom of navigation.”