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RED SCARE: Chinese naval ships came within 12 nautical miles of American soil

A group of Chinese naval vessels transited U.S. territorial waters near Alaska this week, a Pentagon official said Friday, in an unusual maneuver that underscores the potential for increased U.S.-Chinese friction at sea.


A U.S. military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the Chinese naval movements, said the group of five Chinese vessels had passed within about 12 nautical miles of the Aleutian Islands after a joint Russian-Chinese military exercise.

The ships did not violate international law, which allows countries to transit other nations’ seas under what is called “innocent passage,” the official said. He likened China’s movement through U.S. waters off Alaska to the activities of U.S. ships in the Strait of Hormuz, off the coast of Iran.

The official said the flotilla, which included three surface combatant ships, one amphibious ship and a supply ship, now appeared to be heading back to China. “By all accounts and by all indications, they’re going home,” he said.


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