Coast Guard encounters Chinese warships in Alaska fishing grounds

The U.S. Coast Guard reported encountering Chinese warships within 50 miles of the Aleutian Islands this past August during patrols in the Arctic and Bering Sea.

A statement from the Coast Guard says two National Security Cutters and an icebreaker encountered a Chinese guided missile cruiser, guided missile destroyer, intelligence ship and an auxiliary vessel over the last four days in August.

Lieutenant Commander Scott McCann, a Coast Guard spokesperson in Juneau, says it’s been several years since Chinese warships have been observed in the Exclusive Economic Zone which are U.S. fishing grounds.

“The US Coast Guard did not have advance notice the Chinese navy would be operating in international waters, but requiring advanced notice would be counter to international agreements and norms- and it would not be appropriate for the US Coast Guard to speculate on the intended outcome of the Chinese Navy’s operation,” McCann said.

The Chinese ships were not observed entering U.S. territorial waters or violating any laws, the Coast Guard said. But at their closest point they were about 46 miles off the coast of the Aleutian Islands. The Coast Guard’s Arctic deployment this summer included the cutters Bertholf, Kimball and the icebreaker Healy.

McCann also said that the Chinese vessels did not interact with US fishing vessels.

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