5 Chinese navy ships spotted off the Aleutians

The Chinese Navy's Honzehu destroyer at Pearl Harbor in 2006. US Navy photo.
The Chinese Navy’s Honzehu destroyer at Pearl Harbor in 2006. US Navy photo.

As President Obama tours northwest Alaska, five Chinese navy ships have been spotted in the Bering Sea off southwest Alaska.

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Pentagon officials say three of China’s surface-warfare ships, a resupply vessel and a landing craft were seen in international waters off the Aleutian Islands.

Commander Bill Urban is a spokesperson for the Secretary of Defense.

“This is the first time we’ve observed People’s Liberation Army Navy ships in the Bering Sea. We do respect the freedom of all nations to operate military vessels in international waters in accordance with international law. So, no reason why they shouldn’t be there.”

Urban declined to say how long the Navy has been tracking the ships or just where they were located in the Bering Sea.

International waters start 12 nautical miles offshore.

An unnamed U.S. official told the Associated Press the Chinese ships moved into the Bering Sea near Alaska after joining in a naval exercise with Russia.