The U.S. Coast Guard is closely watching a new naval presence seen near Alaska. The group of warships belong to China and Russia. A U.S. Coast Guard ship was on a routine patrol in the Bering Sea when it came across a guided missile cruiser from China. Behind it was two other Chinese naval ships and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer, all in single formation. It is seen as a show of solidarity between the two allied countries in the territory of the U.S. It comes at a time when the relationship between the U.S. and both countries has been unstable.
The vessels were spotted in a single formation less than 100 miles north of Kiska Island, an island off of Alaska. China and Russia have both shown peak interest in exploring and expanding in the Arctic. Russia has set up a new Arctic Command and has opened hundreds of new and former Soviet-era Arctic military sites. China has declared itself a “near Arctic” state and plans to build the world’s largest icebreaker, a ship that is designed to navigate through ice-covered waters. Commenting on the spotted warships off of Alaska, the local coast guard commander said they would continue to monitor the area.
“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,” Adm. Nathan Moore, 17th Coast Guard District commander said.
The arrival of warships from China and Russia comes at the same time the U.S. has embarked on its own journey across seas by sending its largest and most advanced warship to East Asia, the USS Zumwalt. It is the first in a class of three multi-mission guided missile destroyers the Navy says will “create a new level of battlespace complexity for potential adversaries.”
The U.S. and China have been at odds over Taiwan in recent months. Last week President Joe Biden said U.S forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, drawing a swift response from China, lodging several official complaints with the U.S. following Biden’s remarks about Taiwan.