Has China sailed warships off the coast of Alaska?

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People’s Liberation Army warships have reportedly sailed near Alaska in what may be a clear effort to challenge or counter the US Navy’s freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea. The presence of Chinese warships off the coast of Alaska in international waters does not appear to be confirmed, however, it is cited in a Chinese government newspaper called the World time.

A website affiliated with the US Department of Defense reported on Sunday that a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) naval flotilla, including one of China’s most powerful warships, recently sailed in international waters near Alaska, ”according to the newspaper.

However, the World time goes on to say “if the report is true”, a statement which, of course, raises some questions as to whether this actually happened. Nonetheless, the Chinese government-backed newspaper reports this and discusses it as if it were true, citing Chinese military officials discussing the patrol.

“If the report is true, the activities of Chinese warships are probably normal training offshore amid the rapid development of such capabilities by the PLA navy,” Chinese analysts said on Monday, noting that it could also be considered as a countermeasure against the American military provocations on the gates of China in the name of the freedom of navigation ”, according to the World time.

The Chinese newspaper said the information came from a press release from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service of the Ministry of Defense. The newspaper provided details of a four-ship task force from the PLA Navy, saying the force included a guided-missile cruiser, a guided-missile destroyer and a general intelligence vessel with an auxiliary vessel.

The PLA Navy Task Force, according to the Chinese report, “has navigated international waters within the exclusive economic zone of the United States, off the coast of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, August 29 and 30.

The Chinese ships would not have sailed within the twelve-mile territorial sovereignty limit of Alaska’s waters, a stipulation in accordance with the United Nations International Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, if the report that the ships Chinese war-fighters sailed the two hundred mile exclusive economic zone, another border stipulated by the convention on the law of the sea to protect the trade of host countries several hundred miles offshore, it is indeed important. The Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which the entire international community, including the United States, adheres, indicates that an EEZ is intended to ensure commercial operations over several hundred kilometers off the coast of a given country. . Therefore, any other country wishing to do business in this region, including things like commercial shipping or fishing, must receive permission from the host country. However, the law of the sea does not prevent other countries from simply crossing the area.

Regardless of the actual mission or intention, a patrol of this type certainly exacerbates the long-standing disagreement between the United States and China over land claims in the South China Sea. For many years now, the United States has been sailing within the twelve-mile territorial border of certain island areas that China claims to be theirs. However, the United States and much of the international community consider these claims to be false or illegitimate. The United States is not alone, which means that many allies view Chinese territorial claims in the region as illegal, provocative and illegitimate, especially since other countries in Southeast Asia also have land claims in the region. Of course, the concerns of the United States and its allies are compounded by the fact that China has carried out bogus island-building operations in the region, described by the Pentagon as illegal land reclamation, to bolster its claims. territorial.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National interest. Osborn previously served in the Pentagon as a highly trained expert in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Osborn also worked as an on-air presenter and military specialist on national television networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Reuters


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