China today threatened to send its Navy into Hawaiian waters in the latest round of sabre rattling in the Pacific after Australia, the US and Britain announced a new naval alliance in the region.
Four Chinese vessels have already been spotted sailing off the coast of Alaska this week in a display of naval power amid increasing tensions as a global nuclear submarine pact was signed to take on Beijing.
A Chinese guided-missile cruiser, guided-missile destroyer, general intelligence vessel, and an auxiliary vessel were spotted off the coast of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands during surveillance operations in the Bering Sea.
The Global Times’ editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, tweeted: ‘Hopefully when Chinese warships pass through the Caribbean Sea or show up near Hawaii and Guam one day, the US will uphold the same standard of freedom of navigation. That day will come soon.’
The US Navy responded to the tweet, saying they have ‘upheld the standards of freedom of navigation longer than the PLA navy has existed’.
They also pointed out that Chinese spy ships have frequently sailed past Hawaii and Guam in recent years.
They said: ‘The US Navy sails around the world in accordance with international law.
‘All countries benefit from freedom of navigation in accordance with international law.
‘Unfortunately, not all who benefit from freedom of navigation would extend that same freedom to others.’
While the Chinese ships that sailed in the Bering Sea near Alaska were close to US waters, they followed international laws, US officials said.
The four warships, believed to include the 055 Nanchang destroyer were shadowed by the US Coast Guard cutters Bertholf and Kimball, which were shown in a series of images released on Monday of the incident.
The Bertholf crew made radio contact with the the Chinese flotilla which sailed 46 miles from the coast and said all interactions were consistent with international standards.
Guard Pacific Area commander Vice Adm. Michael McAllister said in a statement: ‘Security in the Bering Sea and the Arctic is homeland security.
‘The U.S. Coast Guard is continuously present in this important region to uphold American interests and protect US economic prosperity.’
The state-run Global Times cited Chinese analysts saying the move could be a ‘countermeasure against US military provocations on China’s doorsteps in the name of freedom of navigation’.