The U.S. Coast Guard recently released a set of pictures of the Legend class cutter USCGC Bertholf shadowing a group of four Chinese warships sailing in America’s Exclusive Economic Zone near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands back in August. The emergence of these pictures follows the editor-in-chief of Global Times, a newspaper under the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party, taking to Twitter to criticize U.S. Navy operations in the Pacific that routinely challenge many of Beijing’s widely disputed maritime territorial claims, especially in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, and warn of tit-for-tat activities on the part of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
The pictures were shot between Aug. 29 and Aug. 30, 2021, but were only released through the U.S. military’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) website more recently. The captions to the photographs, which have now, curiously, been removed from DVIDS, say they were taken “in international waters inside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] off the Aleutian Island [sic] coast.” It’s not clear if any Chinese vessels are still inside the U.S. EEZ off the coast of Alaska, which stretches well out into the Pacific Ocean, but The War Zone has already reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard for more information.
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