A Pentagon official admitted on Friday that a group of Chinese naval vessels came within 12 nautical miles of American soil. Pentagon officials first reported this to the Wall Street Journal. China’s Defense Ministry also confirmed to the paper that its naval ships had sailed to the Bering Sea for training after a joint military exercise with Russia in late August. Officials in Beijing insisted that the activity was routine and not aimed at any particular country.
Navy Commander Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed to Fox News Wednesday that three surface warfare ships, one amphibious assault ship and one supply vessel from the People’s Liberation Army Navy had been sighted in the Bering Sea. It was the first time that Chinese ships had been seen in the body of water separating Alaska and Russia. Pentagon officials told the Journal that the ships complied with international law, saying the Chinese actions were in accordance with the principal of “innocent passage.” A Pentagon spokesman defined that principle by saying the ships ““transited expeditiously and continuously through the Aleutian Island chain in a manner consistent with international law.”
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