A US Coast Guard vessel on a routine patrol mission in the Bering Sea off Alaska has reported encountering a Chinese guided missile cruiser later discovered to be operating in conjunction with two other Chinese naval vessels and four Russian naval vessels.
The Chinese guided-missile cruiser Renhai CG-101 was found by Coast Guard cutter Kimball on Sept. 19 about 75 nautical miles north of Kiska Island, Alaska, the US Coast Guard said in a news release Monday.
The Kimball later spotted six other ships — two other Chinese naval vessels and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer — sailing with the missile cruiser in the US Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Hawaii-based Kimball, a 127-meter (418-foot) ship that reported encountering the Chinese missile cruiser, said the Chinese and Russian ships were “all in a single formation, with the Renhai operating as a combined surface action group in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”
The Chinese and Russian ships later broke their action group formation, a tactical mission agreement, and dispersed, the press release said.
Following the sighting, the Kimball crew is now operating under Operation Frontier Sentinel, which aims to “meet presence with presence as strategic competitors operate in and around U.S. waters,” the press statement added.
“Although the formation has operated in accordance with international rules and norms, we will meet presence with presence to ensure there is no interference with US interests in the Alaskan maritime environment,” said Rear Admiral Nathan Moore, commander of the Seventeenth Coast Guard District , said in the statement.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, the 4,500-ton Kimball cutter is much smaller than the 11,000-ton Chinese destroyer Nanchang and also the 6,200-ton Russian frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov – both of whom were among the group sighted near Alaska became.
According to the SCMP report, a Chinese guided missile frigate, the Yancheng, and the supply ship Dongpinghu were also part of the joint operation, which is also said to include three Russian corvettes and a tanker.
Although the Coast Guard clarified that the formation operates in accordance with international rules and norms, its presence in the region is suspect as China and Russia look to intensify strategic partnerships in the Arctic.
To deepen their strategic partnership, Beijing and Moscow have pledged to intensify their practical cooperation in the Arctic.
NATO has said Russia has established a new Arctic Command and has opened hundreds of new and former Soviet-era Arctic military sites, including deep sea ports and airfields. Meanwhile, China has declared itself a “close to the Arctic” state and plans to build the world’s largest icebreaker.
This latest joint operation by the two countries’ navies, coming shortly after joint naval exercises at Russia’s week-long 2022 Vostok War Games on Sept. 7, is seen as part of their efforts to strengthen the China-Russia partnership.
However, this is only the most recent encounter between US and Chinese naval vessels in the region. The first recorded encounter reportedly took place in 2015. A similar encounter was reported in September 2021 when US Coast Guard cutters in the Bering Sea and North Pacific encountered Chinese vessels about 80 km off the Aleutian Islands.
https://www.ibtimes.com.au/chinese-russian-warships-seen-alaska-joint-operation-coastguard-raises-alarm-1838879?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution Chinese and Russian warships sighted in joint operation off Alaska; Coast Guard sounds the alarm