NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
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Russian and Chinese Naval Formation Conducts Patrol Near Alaska, Deemed Non-Threatening by US Officials
By Sea and Coast | 07/08/2023
A joint Russian and Chinese naval formation conducted a patrol "near Alaska" last week, but it was deemed non-threatening by U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), as stated on Sunday.
NORTHCOM's statement to ABC News clarified that the operations were conducted to ensure the defense of the United States and Canada, adding that the patrol remained within international waters and wasn't considered a threat.
A U.S. official informed ABC News that the Pentagon had been monitoring and anticipating this patrol for weeks prior to its commencement. To shadow the patrol, four U.S. destroyers and P-8 aircraft were dispatched.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the formation, which reportedly comprised 11 Chinese and Russian ships.
There has been no public statement from either China or Russia regarding the joint maritime patrols, although a spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy in Washington indicated in a statement to the Journal that they are part of the annual cooperation plan between the two militaries. The spokesperson emphasized that these actions were not directed at any third party and were unrelated to the current international and regional circumstances.
This demonstration seems to be a display of power by China and Russia, coinciding with their deepening ties amid tensions with the U.S., particularly concerning Taiwan and Ukraine.
Alaska's Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, voiced their concerns about the exercise while reiterating their call for increased military funding for their state. Both highlighted Alaska's strategic proximity to China and Russia and its essential role in national defense and territorial sovereignty.
Sullivan underscored the new era of authoritarian aggression led by Beijing and Moscow and emphasized the necessity for a greater naval and military presence, along with more Arctic-capable vessels and infrastructure in Alaska.