A U.S. Coast Guard ship came across a guided missile cruiser from China while on routine patrol, officials reported on Monday. The patrol boat called Kimball and known as a cutter discovered that two other Chinese naval ships and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer, were spotted in single formation.
According to reports, they sailed about eighty-six miles north of Alaska’s Kiska Island on September 19th.
The Honolulu-based Kimball, a 418-foot vessel observed the ships, which broke formation and dispersed. The air support for the Kimball was provided by a C-130 Hercules from the Coast Guard station in Kodiak, Alaska.
“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,” said Rear Admiral Nathan Moore of the Seventeenth Coast Guard District.
NATO Secretary warns of China, Russia cooperation in the Arctic
The Chinese and Russian formation came just a month after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned of China’s interest in the Arctic and Russia’s ever increasing military presence there.
According to Stoltenberg, Russia has set up a new Arctic Command and has opened hundreds of new and former Soviet-era Arctic military sites, including deep-water ports and airfields.
He also mentioned that China has now declared itself a ”near Arctic’’ state and plans to build the world’s largest icebreaker.
While visiting Canada’s north, Stoltenberg said, “Beijing and Moscow have also pledged to intensify practical cooperation in the Arctic. This forms part of a deepening strategic partnership that challenges our values and interests.”
Chinese naval ships have sailed near Alaska waters before in the past. In September 2021, U.S. Coast Guard cutters in the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean encountered Chinese ships about fifty miles off the Aleutian Islands.
The Kimball will continue to monitor the area.