The five Chinese Navy ships spotted operating in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska steered within 12 nautical miles of the U.S. coast and passed through U.S. territorial waters, the Pentagon said.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Pentagon officials said for the first time late Thursday that the five Chinese navy ships had passed through U.S. territorial waters as they transited the Aleutian Islands, but said they had complied with international law. Analysts saw the passage as significant as Beijing has long objected to U.S. Navy vessels transiting its territorial waters or operating in international waters just outside.

The Chinese vessels, including three combat ships along with a replenishment vessel and an amphibious ship, were first observed in the area Wednesday after moving toward the Aleutian Islands, which are controlled partially by the U.S. and Russia.

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