A large joint Russia-China military exercise which is being described as unprecedented in size has sparked alarm in the Pentagon, given it took place off Alaska, causing the US to dispatch four navy warships and aerial assets in the same waters, a very rare move itself of significant size.
The drills by Washington’s most powerful nuclear-armed rivals was called in The Wall Street Journal “the largest such flotilla to approach American shores” in recent history, but it never entered American territorial waters.
It was revealed by US defense officials in a Sunday morning WSJ report, which detailed that “Eleven Russian and Chinese ships steamed close to the Aleutian Islands,” and further, “The ships, which never entered U.S. territorial waters and have since left, were shadowed by four U.S. destroyers and P-8 Poseidon aircraft.”
One analyst and retired Navy captain cited in the report said it was “a historical first” and “highly provocative” – particularly given the backdrop of the raging Ukraine war and rising Taiwan tensions. The flotilla came close to Alaska last week but has since left, US officials indicated.
Alaskan Senator Dan Sullivan (R) said in a Sunday Fox News interview that Congressional leaders were briefed by the Pentagon last week when the Chinese and Russian ships were patrolling.
He explained: “Whether you live in Alaska like I do, or on the East Coast of the United States, a very large surface action task force between our two main adversaries, probing very closely to United States shores is concerning.”